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Bealach amhain nó bealach eile - One way or another there will be an Irish Language Act

16 October, 2007

Responding to today's statement in the Assembly by the Minister for Culture Arts and Leisure Edwin Poots regarding the Irish language Act, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said that:

"Níl iontas ar bith orm faoin ráiteas seo ach ag an am chéanna rinne Edwin Poots obair dona sa tionól inniu. An bhfuil eagla ar an Aire roimh an Ghaeilge? Is linne uilig an teanga agus bealach amhain nó bealach eile beidh Acht na Gaeilge ann."

"Edwin Poots and the DUP have missed a unique opportunity to show mature leadership regarding Irish language legislation."

Mr Adams added,

"Regardless of today's events bealach amhain nó bealach eile one way or another there will be an Irish Language Act."

The Sinn Féin President said,

"Edwin Poots as Culture Minister should have been long-sighted on this matter. He was in a unique position to show mature leadership. The Irish language threatens no one. It is not compulsory. Irish language rights threaten no one.

"The revival of the Irish language has been our country's cultural success story. More and more people are using Irish. Young children in particular are being educated in increasing numbers through the medium of Irish and it is their future and their rights that must be secured through legislation.

"It is therefore unfortunate that the Minister has taken today's course of action and this is certainly not in the spirit of a new local Assembly.

"Sinn Féin have long argued for an Irish language Act which recognizes the rights of Irish speakers. This attempt to renege on this legislation will be challenged by Sinn Féin through the executive.

"It is with regret that the DUP and UUP have used this issue as a political football rather than an administrative subject. The last two weeks have seen attacks in the chamber on the language ad nauseum.

"Irish language legislation is not a demonstration of strength by Sinn Féin, however, this morning is a clear sign of weakness by certain sections of Unionism.

"However I am sure that language rights, a non-contraversial issue throughout the world, will in the time ahead be achieved in Ireland. They shall not be stifled." Críoch

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