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MEPs call for progress on Irish Language Act

19 October, 2009 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will speak later today in the European Parliament in Strasbourg regarding the need for the urgent implementation of an Irish Language Act in the North of Ireland.

This speech follows a letter written to the First and Deputy First Minister by members of the European Parliament from six different countries, including MEP de Brún, calling for an Irish Language Act (Acht na Gaeilge)as soon as possible and expressing disappointment at any delay in bringing one forward.

MEP de Brún said:

"An Irish Language Act would represent an important step towards whole-hearted commitment to the rights of Irish speakers and the development of the Irish language, which is one of the twenty-three official languages of the European Union.

"Irish language legislation could help de-politicise the language as it did in Wales and ensure that public bodies understand that a pluralist approach to language rights can improve community relations.

"The MEPs from Corsica, Belgium, Ireland, Wales, Catalonia, and Latvia who have written to the First and Deputy First Minister point out that they work in a multilingual environment and cannot understand a failure or reluctance to provide for language rights of this sort."

Catalan MEP Oriol Junqueras i Vies also gave a speech calling for

the rights of Irish, and other minority language, speakers to be respected and offered legal protection.

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