Kearney slams Brokenshire's insult to An Dream Dearg
Sinn Féin National Chairperson and South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney has described the failure of British Secretary of State in the North to meet with An Dream Dearg, the umbrella campaign group for implementation of an Irish language act, as a blatant insult.
"Last Thursday I left An Dream Dearg’s protest involving dozens of young Gaeilgeoirí at Parliament Buildings to meet British minister Michael Gove.
“I put it directly to him that the policy of his government towards the north was at the core of the ongoing political crisis.
"I told him that there was an Irish way of life in the six counties which was being denied parity of esteem and equality in direct violation of both the Good Friday and St Andrew's Agreements, and that his government, and specifically James Brokenshire, was directly complicit in that.
"James Brokenshire has been repeatedly asked by An Dream Dearg for a meeting to make its case for implementation of an Acht Gaeilge and language rights in the North. It is a blatant insult that he and his officials have failed to meet with the campaign group.
"Thousands of children are educated every week through the medium of Irish. They belong to a wider Irish cultural identity in the six counties. An Dream Dearg gives direct expression to the demands, rights and aspirations of many thousands of young and older Gaeilgeoirí and their families.
"I will be writing this week to demand that James Brokenshire and the NIO immediately end their insulting indifference and disrespect towards Irish language campaign organisations and belatedly agree to meet with An Dream Dearg.
"It is time that this British government came to terms with the reality and resilience of the Irish cultural identity in this part of the island. If James Brokenshire thinks that he can insult An Dream Dearg and the Irish language constituency, while giving cover to those within political unionism who seek to demonise Irish language rights campaigners, then he is greatly mistaken.
"An Dream Dearg and the campaign for Acht Gaeilge are here to stay until Irish language rights and the Irish way of life are respected here in the North of Ireland. We refuse to be insulted or disrespected by anyone."