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Belfast’s Irish speakers encouraged to hold PSNI to account at public meeting

19 October, 2009 - by Alex Maskey

Sinn Féin Policing Board member and chair of the board’s Community Engagement Committee Alex Maskey has encouraged the Irish speaking community in Belfast to attend a special meeting of the Policing Board, through Irish, in the Hilton Hotel on Wednesday 21st October.

Mr Maskey joined fellow board member and well known Irish language activist Gearóid Ó hEara in encouraging Belfast Gaeilgeoirí to attend this momentous event.

Speaking ahead of the event Mr Maskey said;

“This is an unprecedented event for the city of Belfast and the Gaelic speaking community here. A similar event was held in Derry and was a resounding success.

This is an opportunity for the Gaeilgeoirí of Belfast to engage with and hold to account the Policing Board and some of the PSNI’s most senior officers, not just on issues surrounding the language but issues effecting them in everyday life.

Supporting Maskey’s comments Gearóid Ó hEara, one of the organisers of the event said;

“The Irish language event in Derry was very well attended and allowed citizens whose first language is Irish to engage with the both the Board and senior members of the PSNI.

The meeting itself will allow both the Board and the PSNI to outline their strategies for improving engagement with the Irish speaking population. It will also allow people the opportunity to question the PSNI and the Board on issues effecting them entirely through Irish. It is important to note that simultaneous translation will be available at the meeting and will allow non-Irish speakers to attend and follow proceedings.

Both the Policing Board and the PSNI have obligations to engage with as broad a shade of the community as possible, with 10% of the population in the north speaking Irish it is vitally important that they undertake this important endeavour.

I would encourage and invite people to come along to the event and look forward to continued improvement in both the Board’s and the PSNI’s engagement with the Irish speaking population.” CRÍOCH

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