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Sinn Féin Donegal Senator to take part in protest against UUP motion

9 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Donegal Senator Pearse Doherty will today take part in a protest action against a motion due for debate in the Assembly attacking the right of Ministers to use Irish in their business and which opposes the introduction of the Irish Language Act.


Speaking ahead of today’s Assembly debate Senator Doherty said:


“UUP member David McNarry’s motion is a direct attack on the right of Ministers to use Irish in their business and opposes the introduction of an Irish Language Act.


"An anti Irish language agenda is unacceptable and flies in the face of the equality and human rights agendas which are an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement.


"Sinn Féin MLAs will vigorously oppose this outrageous motion from David McNarry. Irish speakers and supporters of the language have rights.


“The Good Friday Agreement created a responsibility on government departments to take resolute action to promote the Irish language including encouraging its use in public life.


"I believe it is inappropriate for the Irish language to be used as a political football by any party, particularly when such farcical debate takes away from the real business of the Assembly.


“For example Health Minister Michael McGimpsey and his southern counter part Minister Mary Harney have both failed to progress plans for a satellite radiation unit based in the North West of Ireland serving cancer patients on a cross border basis.


“Surely attention to such matters would be of a greater benefit to the people throughout the 32 counties who elected us.


“Sinn Féin, will as it always has promote support and protect the right of the Irish people and their representatives to use the Irish language in and indeed outside the country’s political institutions.” CRÍOCH


Note to editor:


Below is the text of David McNarry' motion due for debate on Tuesday 9 October:


That this Assembly reaffirms its support for the recognition given to the Irish language and Ulster Scots culture through Foras na Gaeilge and the Board of Ulster-Scotch, as an equitable framework for the expression of these linguistic and cultural traditions, objects to the proposal for an Irish Language Act, in light of these arrangements, and calls on the FM and DFM to request all members of the executive committee to recognise the sensitivities of using the Irish language by refraining from its use in the Assembly chamber, in committees and in written communication with MLAs.


Sinn Féin has lodeged a petition of concern on the above, signed by 23 Sinn Féin MLAs and 8 SDLP MLAs.

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