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Adams meets Poots on Irish Language Act

5 November, 2007

A Sinn Fein delegation, including Party President Gerry Adams MP MLA, Barry McElduff MLA and Francie Brolly MLA today met with the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure Edwin Poots, on the issue of Acht na Gaeilge - the Irish Language Act.

Mr. Adams restated Sinn Fein's belief that a rights based Irish Language Act in legislation 'is the most effective way of protecting and enhancing the rights of Irish language speakers in the time ahead'.

The Sinn Fein leader reasserted his view that there 'will be an Irish language Act and the Minister missed an important opportunity to reach out to the Irish language community'.

Mr. Adams said:

"The resurgence of the Irish language, particularly in the north, but throughout the island, is a tribute to families, parents, teachers and Irish language activists.

"The great progress that has been made was done without legislative rights. I have no doubt that this progress will continue in the time ahead. It is my view that the Minister knows this.

"While there is a real challenge on Irish language activists to win unionism over to the cause of the Irish language, and to an understanding that it is our common heritage, the Minister also has a responsibility to win the confidence of the Irish language community.

"I told him today that the way he has handled the Irish language Act and his rejection of Acht na Gaeilge means that gaeilgeoirí have no confidence in him at this time."

Gerry Adams reiterated his party's commitment to working on the achieving of rights for Irish speakers. He said this is not a threat to anyone.

"The Minister knows this and in my discussions with unionists and the DUP they have yet to put forward any real rationale for their opposition to the language." ENDS

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