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"Gregory Campbell must realise he is a Minister for all, that includes Irish speakers" – McElduff

5 December, 2008 - by Barry McElduff

Sinn Féin MLA and Chair of the Assembly Culture Arts and Leisure Committee Barry McElduff has expressed his disappointment at the paper brought forward by Culture Minister Gregory Campbell on a 'regional and minorities language strategy' for the North.

Speaking after today's meeting Mr McElduff said,

"Minister Campbell's paper is a major disappointment to say the least, and I'm sure will be viewed as such by the Irish speaking community in the Six Counties.

"Today's presentation allowed the Minister to outline his proposals for an Irish Language strategy however when I asked him the timeframe for its implementation, his answers were somewhat vague and non committal.

"It is a sorry situation for the rights of Gaelgóirí when the Minister for Culture seems set against advancing and protecting their rights and entitlements. The reality that the Minister must face up to is that the Irish language is not comparable with other languages. Irish speakers can, educate their children, access their news, listen to the radio, watch television, do their banking, socialise and live their lives all through the medium of Irish; what they cannot do however is access their elected Government or it's bodies through Irish. In this day and age of shared Government, within a new political dispensation, this simply is not good enough.

"Sinn Féin once again made our position clear at the Committee and that is that we wish to see a comprehensive, rights based Irish language act introduced in the North."


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