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Sinn Féin give firm arguments to Culture Minister over need for language legislation

25 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Irish language spokesperson Francie Brolly has today directly challenged the Culture Minister over his failure to enact Irish language legislation.

Speaking following a debate in the Culture Committee meeting between the Minister and the committee members Mr Brolly said,

"Minister Poots statement of the 16th October was a retrograde step for the future of everyone's cultural heritage.

"The Minister was informed that on 8th April 1994 the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations issued a statement stating that;

positive measures by states may be necessary to protect the identity of a minority and the rights of its members to enjoy and develop their culture and language in community with other members of the group.

"The above, the St Andrews guarantees and responsibilities under the European charter for Minority languages provide the Minister with an onus not to make a party political issue from this.

"The Irish language and culture belongs to all the people who live on this island. People must be able to live and celebrate their culture and language without those elements, who for whatever reason, have taken a hostile, adversarial stance to the Irish language.

"With a mindset like that of King Canute seeking to turn back the tide or like Don Quixote tilting at windmills, the anti-Irish language campaigners are going to have to come to terms with this changing society. They should realise that the Irish language, an Ghaeilge, is as much a part of their history and their heritage as is an Lámh Dhearg, the Red Hand of their flags and bannerettes.

"The main argument for refusal to legislate for the Irish language by Unionists; that of over-hyped costs, must be scrutinised. Irish speakers have been paying for misrule for years and now all that is required are legislative protections." Críoch

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