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Sinn Féin to meet Queens University over the treatment of the Student Executive

1 September, 2004

Sinn Féin Higher and Further Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson and West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff (both Queens graduates) will meet senior members of the Queens University management to discuss concerns over the treatment of the Students Union Executive tomorrow, Thursday 2nd September at 4pm, in Queens.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Mr Ferguson said today:

"The Executive of the Students Union is entirely within its rights to publish its' annual students handbook in English and Irish. I am deeply concerned that it now appears that senior members of the Queens establishment, including the student and learning pro-chancellor Ken Bell are attempting to block the unanimous decision of the Executive. This move has clear implications for the relationship and independence of the Students Union Executive.

"I am concerned that Queens also appears to attempting to disenfranchise the democratically elected Executive of the Students Union. As a former student of Queens I am well aware of its' failures to rise to the challenges of dealing with its' unionist history and ethos.

"Increasingly anti-Irish bigotry is again rearing its ugly head within our society; throughout the Six Counties there is almost daily evidence of sectarian attacks on nationalists. It is an agenda being pursued by some of the most intolerant elements within our society and Queens if it continues with its current approach to this bilingual handbook will not only be guilty of caving into an anti-Irish sentiment will also stand accused of fostering sectarianism.

"The Agreement and international and EU convention that have precedence make it clear that there is a duty on Queens to promote the use of Irish language. The agreement makes explicit commitment to remove barriers to the use of Irish." ENDS

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