Irish Language Rights as a real and vital part of our future, Fianna Fáil disagree – Tóibín
Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Irish Language Peadar Tóibín TD has said that Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív’s call for Sinn Féin and the Irish language community to capitulate on the issue of the Irish Language Act in the Stormont Assembly negotiations reveals the southern establishment’s hobbyist approach to the Irish Language.
The Meath West TD said:
“For most within Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the Irish language is a hobby, a part of our cultural heritage to be preserved and commemorated merely as part of our back story. This compares sharply to hundreds of thousands of Irish speakers who see it as a living, breathing necessity.
“We see Irish Language Rights as a real and vital part of our future. Their inclusion within law has real practical benefits in how people engage with education, work, the police, health and the law. It is as practical and as real as an Irish speaking child having access to a speech therapist in the language that he or she speaks.
“Irish language rights include people in the society. Their absence is in effect exclusion and discrimination. We in the south have had a hobbyist approach to the Irish language since the foundation of the state. This has resulted in the pool of children attending primary school education in the Gaeltacht who come from Irish speaking households falling to about 800.
“If Unionists and the southern establishment want to see the Good Friday Agreement work, they need to join with us and ensure it is fully implemented.”