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Government must show commitment to Irish language – Doherty

15 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Gaeltacht Affairs Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has called on the Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív to ensure that the cabinet sub-committee, established to consider the recommendations of the Linguistic Study of Usage of the Irish Langauge in the Gaeltacht, is meeting regularly after it was revealed that the committee has yet to meet despite being established three months ago.

Senator Doherty said today, "The Linguistic Study of the Usage of the Irish Language in the Gaeltacht was published before Christmas and the Dáil was told then that a cabinet sub committee had been established to consider its recommendations. However it was revealed yesterday that this committee has yet to meet. This is unacceptable.

"I do not accept the excuse from the Minister that the matter will be concluded no later 31st of December this year regardless of how slow the start is. It is not best practice to leave everything to the last minute which seems to be the attitude of the Minister.

"This report shows that the strongest areas of the Gaeltacht as we know it now have only fifteen years left. Current Government policy is clearly failing these areas yet the Government continues to drag its feet.

"I would call on the Minister to ensure that this committee meets at the earliest opportunity and following from the initial meeting that it meets regularly after that.

"At a time when Irish language rights are under attack from Unionists in the North and when the Irish Language Newspaper Lá Nua is under financial stress and facing closure it is essential that the Government of this State shows its commitment to the language. This fiasco has done anything but that."

"There is widespread dissatisfaction in the Rannafast area of Donegal at being designated a category B Gaeltacht area. This Town-land is a staunch Irish speaking Gaeltacht area and should be classed as a category A Gaeltacht area.

"I am in the process of collecting letters of protest from residents in the area and currently have nearly 150. These letters will be sent to Minister Ó Cuív along with a demand from myself and the Sinn Féin Party that Rannafast be re-designated as a category A Gaeltacht area." ENDS

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