Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Meeting the Challenges Facing the Irish Language Community - Gerry Adams

8 February, 2008


Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams MP MLA this evening joined Eamonn Ó Cuiv TD Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in an event in west Belfast that is part of the Féile an Earraigh. (West Belfast Spring festival).

Minister Ó Cuiv is speaking on the issue of 'The Development of Community and the Irish Language'.

Gerry Adams spoke on 'Meeting the Challenges Facing the Irish Language Community'.

The following is the text of Mr. Adams remarks in Irish and English.

Mr. Adams said:

"Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh an Aire Éamonn Ó Cuív chuig an ócáid seo anocht ag Féile an Earraigh in Iarthar Bhéal Feirste.

Tá sé anso anocht mar aoi-chainteoir ach sula dtosaíonn sé ba mhaith liom an deis seo a ghlacadh le cuid ceisteanna a lua atá ag cur isteach ar Ghaeilgeoirí sa tuaisceart agus anseo i mBéal Feirste.

Ar na ceisteanna seo tá -

  • Acht Gaeilge
  • An Ceathrú Gaeltachta
  • Gaeloideachas
  • Gairmoideachas
  • Raidió Fáilte agus an Ciste Craoltóireachta
  • Comharthaíocht dá-theangach
  • Lá Nua.

Tá straitéis ag Sinn Féin sa Tionól agus san Fheidhmeanas agus ina measc sin tá muid ag obair le cinntiú go mbíonn polasaithe agus gníomhaíochta an rialtais scrúdaithe faoi Mír seachtó a cúig d'Acht Tuaiscirt Éireann agus an meicníocht Equality Impact Assessment.

Tá said seo mar cuid den creatlach dlíthiúl - is dlíthe anois iad.

Ciallaíonn sin go mbeidh polasaithe an rialtais agus airgead an rialtais scrúdaithe le cinntiú go gcaitear é sa slí is fearr dár saoranáigh uilig.

An céad briseadh fríd sa chomhtheacs seo tharla sé sa Chlár Rialtais agus sa Stráitéis don Bhuiséad - rinneadh scrúdú measúnú comhionannais.

Agus déanfar amhlaidh ar ghníomhaíochtaí na nAirí uilig.

Beidh impleactaí leis seo ar na míreanna éagsúla agus an comhphobal - mar shampla do na mná, do dhaoine mí-chumasacha, do dhaoine óga agus do phobal na Gaeilge.

Tá sé de rún againn cinntiú go gcaitear libhse mar a chaitear le gach duine eile.

Cuireann seo san aireamh - maoiniu, fógraíocht poiblí agus rialtais, agus go leor eile.

Tá borradh Gaeloideachais ar na dea-scéaltaí de chuid pobal na Gaeilge.

Ní comhtharlú é seo go dtáinig sé as na cainteanna a bhí againn le Rialtas na Breataine agus ansin gníomhaíochta airí de chuid Sinn Féin.

Amharcaigí thart oraibh anocht. Tá an áit mór deas seo thart orainn de thairbhe gur ghlac Aire Oideachais de chuid Sinn Féin an cinneadh chun airgead suntásach a chur ar fáil don choláiste.

Lean Cáitríona Ruane leis an dea-obair sin. An tsechtain seo caite dúirt Conor Murphy go bhfuil sé de rún aige comharthaíochta dá-theangach a thabhairt isteach. Tá tograí ag leibheal an Chomhairle Cathrach ag bogadh ar aghaidh.

Tá muid ag obair ar cur chun cinn forbairt an Ceathrú Gaeltachta, in éineacht leis an phobal áitiúil agus na ceannairí gnó. Tá áiseanna faighte do togra mór amháin. Cultúrlann MacAdaim Ó Fiaich.

Dúirt Sinn Féin gur chóir méadú le buiséad Foras na Gaeilge agus gur chóir go mbeadh deich faoin gcéad le haghaidh tograí caipitealach.

Tá muid ag éileamh go leantar leis an Chiste Craoltorachta i ndiaidh dó chríochnú i Mí Márta 2009. Agus tá muid ag tacú le hiarrachtaí Raidió Fáilte a fhorbairt is a fheabhsú.

Tá an deis ann anois iad uilig a bhaint amach.

Scríobh mé chiug Foras na Gaeilge faoi todhchaí Lá Nua.

Tá muid ag troid ar son a leanúint. Tugann sé seirbhís fíorluachmhar do phobal na Gaeilge chomh maith leis na postanna.

Dúirt Edwin Poots ar na mallaibh gur iar sé ar chuid airgid sa bhreis don Chiste Craoltórachta le linn na cainteanna fán bhuiséad. Tá mé cinnte nach gcreidfidh duine ar bith sin.

Beidh mé ag buladh leis ar Aire an tseachtain seo chugainn agus beidh sé ar an chlár i measc go leor eile.

Creidim go domhain go bhfaighfidh muid Acht Gaeilge.

Níor chóir go mbeadh iontas ar dhuine ar bith sa seomra seo gur dhiúltaigh an tAire Poots de.

Bheadh sé go maith dá nglachfadh aontachtóirí agus airí Sasanacha go bhfuil na cearta céanna ag Gaeilgeoirí is atá ag gach duine eile a labhrann Béarla.

Ach ní ghlacann. Rinne Peter Hain sar-iarracht cinntiú nach mbeadh tagairt ar bith ar Acht Gaeilge sa Chomhaontú Naomh Andrew (Cill Rímhinn). Níor mhaith leis cur isteach ar na haontachtoírí.

Mar sin, caithfidh muid amharc ar an streachtailt chun cearta Gaeilgeoirí a fháil, caithfidh muid cuimhniú gur troid leanúnach é mar proiséas athraithe.

Tá sé de ceart againn Acht Gaeilge a fháil ach ní tharlóidh sé mura mbíonn na daoine sa halla seo anocht sásta feachtasaíocht agus obair chun é a bhaint amach.

Tá taithí ag an Aire Ó Cuív de na deacrachtaí le polasaithe agus barúlacha a athrú sa deisceart, áit nach bhfuair saoránaigh go dtí ar an mallaibh na cearta a bhí tuillte acú ó thaobh na Gaeilge de. Agus tharla sé i ndiaidh feachtais fhada.

Tá a lán bainte amach againn le deich mbliana anuas. Thig linn a lán a fheiceáil san am le teacht.

Ach ní féidir linn dearmad a dhéanamh go bhfuil an ceist seo faoi chearta - go bhfuil cearta Gaeilgeoirí chomh tabhachtach le cearta saoránaigh uilig eile. Tá sé de ceart ag Gaeilgeoirí a saol a chaitheamh trí mheán na Gaeilge - ina gcuid gnó agus gnóthaí sóisialta.

Tá an bogadh chun cinn suntasach déanta go dtí seo mar gheall ar an obair dian ó gníomhairí, múinteoirí, clanna agus pobail.

Ba mhaith liom búiochas croíúil a thabhairt daoibh uilig.

Tharla seo in aineoinn cur in aghaidh millteanach ón chóras pholaitiúl. Tharla seo gan Acht Gaeilge a bheith againn.

Mar sin de, má leanann muid ag obair le chéile, leis an duthracht agus dígeantas céanna a thug anseo muid, ansin níl amhras ar bith orm go mbeidh rath orainn."


I want to welcome Minister Ó Cuiv to west Belfast and to Féile an Earraigh.

He is the keynote speaker tonight but before he addresses us I want to take this opportunity to mention some of the issues which are of concern to Irish language speakers in the north generally, and specifically here in Belfast.

These issues include; Acht na Gaelge; the future of the Gaeltacht Quarter; Irish medium education; vocational training; Radio Failte and the Irish Language Broadcast fund; bi-lingual signage, and Lá Nua.

Sinn Féin's strategy in the Executive and in the Assembly includes working to ensure that all government policies and actions are equality proofed using section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act and the Equality Impact Assessment mechanism.

These are now part of the legal framework - they are law.

This means that government policy and the money it spends are being scrutinized to ensure that they are applied and used in the best interests of all citizens.

The first significant breakthrough in this regard was the work done to ensure that the Programme for Government and the Budget and the Investment Strategy were equality assessed.

This means that all policy and actions by Executive Ministers will be examined and equality proofed.

This will affect various sectors and communities; for example women, the disabled, young people, and also the Irish language community.

The aim is to ensure that you are treated on the basis of equality with all other sectors.

This will cover funding, as well as public and government advertising among other issues.

One of the success stories of the Irish language community has been the significant growth in Irish medium education.

It is no co-incidence that the greatest growth in this sector has coincided with the active promotion by Sinn Féin of Irish medium education in negotiations with the British government, and subsequently delivery on this by Sinn Fein Ministers.

This fine building we are in tonight exists because a Sinn Féin Education Minister took the decision to provide significant investment to this college.

Caitriona Ruane has continued this good work.

Last week Conor Murphy announced his intention to introduce legislation later this year to allow for certain signage to have a bi-lingual status. Signage projects at city council level are advancing well.

The development of the Gaeltacht Quarter is one which we are working to promote, in unison with local community and business leaders. Initial resources have been secured already for the Gaeltacht Quarter and one of its landmark projects, Cultúrlann MacAdaim O Fíaich.

Sinn Féin has argued that the Foras na Gaelige budget should be increased; that 10% of the budget should be available for capital projects.

We are demanding that the Irish language Broadcast Fund is continued and enhanced after the first five years which ends in 2009. And we support efforts to enhance and develop Radio Fáilte.

The opportunity is there to achieve these.

I have also written to Foras na Gaelige about the future of Lá Nua.

We are fighting for its continuation; the invaluable service it provides to the Irish language community, as well as to safeguard employment.

Claims made by Edwin Poots that he put together a bid for more money for the Irish Language Broadcast Fund in the recent budget negotiations are misleading and I am sure that no-one here has been taken in by that.

I am meeting the Minister on these and others matters next week.

I firmly believe we will get an Acht na Gaelge.

The rejection by Minister Poots of this will have surprised no one in this room.

It would be nice if unionist and British politicians accepted that Irish speakers should have the same rights as English speaking citizens.

But they don't. Peter Hain fiercely resisted having any mention of an Irish Language Act in the St. Andrews Agreement. He didn't want to upset the unionists.

So, we have to see the struggle for the rights and entitlements of Irish speakers as a continuum, an ongoing process of change.

We are entitled to an Irish Language Act but it will only happen if we in this hall want it badly enough and are prepared to campaign and work together to achieve it.

Minister Ó Cuiv has experience of the difficulties faced in changing policy and attitudes in the South where only recently, and by dint of a successful campaign, were citizens afforded Irish language rights.

So, a lot of progress has been achieved in the last decade. And already we can see how more can be made in the time ahead.

But we must never lose sight of the fact that this issue is about rights - the right of Irish language speakers to have the same rights as all other citizens, including the right to use their native language in all of their business and social activities.

A huge amount of progress has been achieved in the main by dint of the determined work of activists, teachers, families and communities.

I want to thank you all.

This is despite the enormous opposition from within the political system. And without an Acht na Gaelge.

So, if we continue to work together with the same persistence and dedication that has brought us this far, then I believe we will be successful." Deireadh/Ends

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