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Irish language a resource for reconciliation - Kearney

22 November, 2015

Sinn Féin's National Chairperson Declan Kearney has said the Irish language threatens no one and is a resource to build reconciliation.

Speaking after the Party's annual Slógadh in Newry he said:

"The Irish language belongs to everyone, and threatens no one.

"That fact was powerfully underscored in various contributions during the Slógadh, and particularly by the presentation from Linda Ervine.

"The recent Stormont Agreement implementation plan provides a new opportunity to look towards enhancing the status of the Irish language in the six counties. Support for an Irish language act is continuing to grow. Legislation is a necessary next step in the north.

"Everyday over 5,000 children in the six counties are taught through the medium of Irish. The Irish language community in the north is growing, and on an increasingly cross community basis. That is hugely significant.

"A shared future must be based upon mutual respect, parity of esteem and equality. In that context, the Irish language should be embraced and valued as a significant resource with which to build reconciliation in the north.

"The centenary of the Easter rising will inevitably refocus attention on how the language revival played a very positive influence in shaping Irish political and social history during that period.

"This now is a time for intensified and imaginative campaigning, and cross community, and other new alliances to entrench Irish language rights north and South.

"The Irish language is a positive force for educational, cultural, economic and social change. That potential needs to be harnessed and given expression through good legislation North and South.

"Sinn Féin will continue to work with Irish language, and other community organisations towards achieving these outcomes."

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