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Sinn Féin backs plan for teaching third level courses through Irish

3 March, 2004

Sinn Féin EU Affairs Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Bairbre de Brún welcoming the launch of the An Breadán Feasa Strategic Plan by Gaeloiliúint has called on the British government to live up to its Irish language commitments.

Ms de Brún said:

"Since the 1970‚s the development of Irish medium education has gone from strength to strength. Martin McGuinness as Education Minister accelerated this when fulfilled commitments to the Irish language education sector contained in the Good Friday Agreement. More remains to be done.

"In the nursery, primary and secondary sectors there has been very real progress. The next logical step is the development of third level education through the medium of Irish.

"I welcome the publication of the An Breadán Feasa Strategic Plan by Gaeloiliúint. It is a vital contribution in the development of Irish medium education.

"I also welcome today‚s announcement that National University of Ireland Galway has agreed to accredit a diploma course for early years classroom assistants run by Gaeloiliúint here in Belfast in conjunction with the National University of Ireland in Gweedore.

"The commitments the British Government made when the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages was signed and ratified must be upheld.

"This means that of the An Breadán Feasa Strategic Plan should be given full recognition and properly funded.

At the heart of these proposals is the creation of All Ireland third level education links. Sinn Fein very much welcome and see these proposals as vital stepping stones in creating greater All Ireland harmonisation and co-operation in the area of third level education."ENDS

Note to Editors

The British Government signed the Charter on 2 March 2000 and ratified on 27 March 2001. It came into force on 1 July 2001.

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