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McElduff calls on British to make public advice on how Departments will meet needs of Irish speaking population

16 October, 2003

Sinn Féin Representative Barry McElduff has called upon the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy to make public the latest advice put together by civil servants on how government departments should meet the needs of the Irish speaking population.

Mr McElduff said:

"Irish speakers are frustrated and angry about the minimalist and slow approach adopted by government departments in fulfilling the promises made by the British government in relation to the Irish Language in the Good Friday Agreement.

"Sinn Féin is aware that draft advice to government bodies about the Irish language has been put together by the Intergovernmental Group on the implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. This advice has been sent to Paul Murphy for ratification without any consultation with the Irish speaking community or the parties who signed up to the Good Friday Agreement.

"The European Charter itself puts emphasis on the importance of involving Irish speakers in discussion about its implementation. Since the Charter was signed by the British government in July 1999, there has been no significant consultation between government and the Irish speaking community. This is unacceptable. I am calling on Paul Murphy to publish the draft proposals from the interdepartmental group on the Charter and to initiate immediate public consultation with Irish Language organisations on the implementation of the Charter." ENDS

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