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Bairbre de Brún addresses MEPs on situation of Irish language

14 November, 2007

Bairbre de Brún MEP today outlined the situation of the Irish language to a cross-party group of MEPs in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. She specifically focussed on Acht na Gaeilge - the Irish Language Act in the north of Ireland, the status of Irish and an official and working language of the EU, and the situation of the language in Ireland today.

Speaking in Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"Legislation is the most effective way of underpinning the rights of Irish speakers. Unfortunately, by politicising the issue, the Minister Edwin Poots has missed the opportunity to reach out to Irish language speakers and to present linguistic and cultural diversity in an inclusive and positive way.

"I have invited a group of representatives of Irish language organisations to visit Brussels next week to explore the situation of other languages across the EU and to discuss the urgent need for legislation to protect Irish speakers in the North.

"I was delighted to address today's meeting on the situation of the Irish language and to discuss with MEPs from across the political spectrum the challenges and opportunities facing Irish speakers" ENDS

Note for editors: The meeting was organised by the cross-party Intergroup for Traditional National Minorities, Constitutional Regions and Regional Languages which is chaired by Hungarian socialist MEP Csaba Tabajdi. The meeting was also addressed by Sean Ó Neachtain MEP.

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