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Martina Anderson to raise Gaeilge rights with EU Vice-President

11 December, 2012 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Martina Anderson MEP (Sinn Féin) is to meet today (Tuesday 11/12/12) with EU Vice-President Miguel Ángel Martinez who has responsibility for multilingualism within the Parliament to insist that Gaeilge is afforded the same rights as the other 22 EU Official languages.Before leaving for Brussels today Martina Anderson highlighted the reasoning she will be putting to Vice-President Miguel Ángel Martinez.

Martina Anderson said:

“Gaeilge is an official EU language and the Parliament has a website in all other 22 official languages. It is unacceptable that Gaeilge is the only language not included in this service.

“It needs to be recognised that language is not only a means of communication. It is also a symbol of identity and in a real sense it is the repository for the culture and literature of a people- its literature, song, folklore, place names, family names all have their origins in the language.

“In the case of the Gaeilge language it has an almost unique position in the languages of Europe. It is recognised as being a literary language for over 1.400 years and gives meaning to the vast majority of place names and surnames throughout the whole island of Ireland. It is recognised by Bunreacht na hÉireann/The Constitution of Ireland as the "first official" and the only "national" language of Ireland while English, although spoken and understood by a majority of the Irish people, is only recognised as "another official language".

“The granting of official EU status to Gaeilge in 2007 had immediate practical effects, such as a huge increase in the number of students studying it at all Irish universities. Official EU status also had important political consequences:  it both legitimises Gaeilge at the EU level and demonstrated that the EU is serious about multilingualism, that it values equally all of the languages which are an integral part of Europe's common cultural heritage.

“It is not true that the required human resources cannot be found.  There is a valid short list of successful head of unit candidates from an open joint Council/Commission competition in 2009, and 102 candidates are currently registered for the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) careers competition to recruit new Gaeilge language translators.  The only thing that is needed is a political decision by the European Parliament to regularise the position of Gaeilge and produce its website in all 23 official EU languages”.

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