Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD will take part tomorrow in Lá Dearg – a march and rally in Belfast in support of Irish language rights and the implementation of Acht na Gaeilge – an Irish Language Act for the north.
Earlier this year Teachta Adams participated in a similar march and rally in Dublin – ‘Lá Mór na Gaeilge’ – to protest at the “policies of the Irish government which are inexorably strangling the Irish language and the denial of language rights to Irish speakers in the north”.
Teachta Adams said:
“Tomorrow’s event is part of a national campaign in support of the rights and entitlements of Irish language speakers across this island.
In the 26 counties the government is in breach of its own 20-year strategy for the language. The decisions by Fine Gael and Labour have increased the marginalisation of the Irish language in the public administration system. Their actions have ensured that language schemes by public bodies have been poorly devised and inadequately implemented.
It is clear that there is a crisis in the south as a result of government policy. Not least by the government’s insistence that Irish speakers must use English when dealing with state bodies.
This discriminatory policy also exists in the north because of the hostility of political unionism and of the British government.
Sinn Féin is committed to promoting Irish language rights and we have achieved significant advances in the north.
• Almost 5,000 pupils now receiving their education through Irish
• £20 million capital investment in Irish education
• Annual spending of £16.25 million on Irish education
• DCAL to produce an Irish language strategy for the north
• Secured £12 million for Irish broadcasting and £8 million for capital projects
However, there is much work still to be done. This includes the Irish government providing the necessary legislative and financial resources to help the language thrive and the British government honouring its obligation and commitment to legislate for Irish language rights through an Acht na Gaeilge.