The Irish language respects no borders or partition of Ireland - neither will Líofa – Carál Ní Chuilín
“Since May 2011, the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure in the North have put the promotion of Equality as its single most important priority.
Sinn Féin are ensuring that inclusion and long-term sustainability for the Irish Language, Sport, Art - as a few examples - is central to providing access and participation across society.
Through an investment package of £110m, DCAL will provide a sustainable economic and social framework for the development of sports stadia for gaelic games, soccer and Rugby.
We have persisted with the development of robust Social Clauses, which have essentially ring-fenced opportunities targeted at those in most need, pursuing a living wage for workers and securing benefits for local businesses.
Since our last Ard Fheis, my department has been central to the success of the City of Culture in Derry, which embraced among other events, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the Return of Colmcille and then some.
In 2013, we also hosted in Belfast, the World Police and Fire Games, which seen over 7,000 athletes and visitors coming together from across this Island and across the world.
Let's look forward to Derry's bid for Irish City of Culture in2016!
In the area of sports, angling, waterways & canals and language - Sinn Féin will ensure that partition does not prevent or impede access to opportunities that I've just outlined.
With the Haass Talks receiving a lot of attention in the North recently, an incident in my department last year epitomized the British government’s attitude to what happened in the North during the conflict.
Relatives of those that had lost loved ones during the conflict had been trying to get inquest papers into these historic cases but had been blocked by the Public Records Office, the NIO and the North’s Department of Justice.
As keeper of the records I overturned this decision and released the papers to the families.
The British Secretary of State, the PSNI and the Department of Justice took a midnight court injunction to try to prevent me from doing this but failed.
As I said at the time: there was no credible or compelling reason for withholding the files. I don’t believe the public records office was in a position to make that decision independently, I think that decision was mine to make.
This was a deeply significant step forward in the demand for truth recovery. These are public records about public inquests and court hearings, which have already been heard and reported in public so the question is - why try to prevent them going to the families?
This is an example of a decision being taken by a local, accountable minister and about the rights of citizens. Decisions being made about people that live here need to be made by those that live here, not by some fly-by-night English politician who wouldn’t know Ballymurphy from Ballymun.
In 2011 we launched the Líofa 2015 initiative with the aim of having 1000 more fluent Irish speakers in the North. Such was the response that we have changed that target twice and currently there are over 5000 signed up to the Líofa initiative.
Those that have signed up have come from all walks of life and many have been people who would not normally have been associated with the Irish language. I am delighted about this – the language belongs to everybody.
In the spring of this year the Líofa initiative will - in conjunction between my department and Jimmy Deenihan’s department in the 26 counties, be launching Líofa the length and breadth of Ireland so that every Irish person can sign up.
The Irish language respects no borders or partition of Ireland - neither will Líofa.”