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Sinn Féin challenge DUP over Irish language Act

20 July, 2017 - by Pat Sheehan


Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has challenged the DUP to ‘call our bluff’ if they seriously believe the Irish Language Act is being used as a reason to avoid sharing power in the North.

The Sinn Féin negotiator was responding to comments by DUP MP Edwin Poots at the Magill Summer School when he claimed the Irish Language Act was a ‘useful tool’ for Sinn Féin to avoid the hard decisions that come with government.

He commented: “I welcome the fact that Edwin Poots chose to make part of his address as Gaeilge and hopefully that indicates a move in the right direction on the DUP approach to the issue of an Irish Language Act.

“However, his comments regarding Sinn Féin’s motivation for an act simply don’t stand up to scrutiny. No party has done more to make the institutions work than Sinn Féin. No individual has done more than Martin McGuinness. So to claim we are seeking to avoid government is plainly ludicrous.

“Sinn Féin is absolutely committed to the re-establishment of the Executive and if the DUP really believe we aren’t then they should call our bluff. They should agree to an Irish Language Act and the implementation of the other rights-based issues which are still outstanding. 

“Until now the DUP’s position has been that they are prepared to go back into the Executive providing that it is on the same basis that led to its collapse in January. Clearly that isn’t feasible.

“If the DUP are serious about getting back to power-sharing, they know very well what the issues are and that any new Executive will have to be based on the acceptance, recognition and delivery of rights for all.” 

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