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Ní Riada announces Language Hearing for Brussels

7 March, 2016 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP


Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has announced that she will host a language hearing around lesser used languages, with a special focus on the Irish language, in the European Parliament in June.

Speaking from Cork where she addressed an Irish Language networking breakfast organised by Glór na nGael and Gael Taca, Liadh Ní Riada said:

“I am delighted to announce that I will host a special hearing in the European Parliament, which will examine the situation of regional, indigenous and minority languages across the EU. I will work closely with the European Language Equality Network (ELEN) to put together a panel of language advocates and experts from many countries.

“Language is a very live issue in Europe as it is at home. In January 2015 ELEN presented its Report to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on language discrimination against co-official language speakers (Catalan, Basque and Galician) in the Spanish state.

"Unfortunately the ELEN Report only reveals the tip of the iceberg as there are many reports of this kind of discrimination and we see regular occurrences of language based discrimination happening to nearly all regional or minority languages in Europe.

"In the North of Ireland for example, the use of Irish continues to be undermined by the British and Irish Government’s failure to implement the St Andrews Agreement for an Irish Language Act.

"This hearing will come at a vital time for speakers of regional, indigenous and minority languages. Across Europe we are seeing daily violations of the most basic of human rights - the right to speak in your own language.

"The fact that I cannot speak my native language in my place of work, the European Parliament is discriminatory and flies in the face of the core principles of the European Union. The EU cannot continue to claim that it 'respects' linguistic diversity and then do nothing to protect that diversity.

"Topics for discussion at the hearing will include issues with existing safeguards, the new Language Protocol, which is currently being drafted, and the proposal from ELEN for an EU Directive on Regional and Minority Language Rights.

"I will bring the recommendations made at the hearing to the European Parliament's Culture and Education Committee in order to advance the case for legislative changes.”

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