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Leonard: DCAL’s position on Irish Language Act ‘not human rights compliant’

16 September, 2010

Sinn Féin Culture Committee member Billy Leonard MLA has said that the DCAL Committee must explore urgently the legal ramifications of the failure of the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure to bring forward a comprehensive Irish Language policy.

Mr Leonard was speaking after Human Rights Commissioner Monica McWilliams submitted a letter to the Committee outlining their position following the report from the EU’s Committee of Experts into the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages.

Speaking this afternoon Mr Leonard said;

"The Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure received a letter today from Monica McWilliams regarding the report from the EU's Committee of Experts which has considered the implementaton of the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages.

The letter highlights further a number of the findings from the Committee of Expert’s report; notably their call for the implementation of a ‘comprehensive Irish Language policy’.

As Sinn Féin has been stating for some considerable time now, the report also stresses the need for both An Ghaeilge and Ulster Scots to ‘be treated in accordance with its own specific situation’.

The Human Rights Commission has asked the Minister Nelson McCausland if he intends to take any measures to promote respect for Irish given the conclusions of the Council of Europe. Mr McCausland needs to spell out clearly his intentions with respect to this.

Given the findings of the Committee of Experts, the Assembly scrutiny committee on culture, arts and leisure will now have to explore the legal ramifications for the Department and the Minister for the failures with respect to the Irish language.

Nelson McCausland must now move to implement his languages strategy and introduce Act na Gaeilge.” CRÍOCH

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