No Irish Language Act – No Assembly – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking this morning about efforts to re-establish the political institutions in the North said:
“The issue of citizens’ rights is at the core of the current political crisis in the North. Let me be very clear there will be no Assembly and no Executive, without a stand-alone Irish Language Act.
“Irish language speakers in the North must have the same legislative protections that are available everywhere else on these islands.
“The North is changing. It must be a place, which embraces all of its citizens, and respects all on the basis of equality. This does not threaten anyone. On the contrary it is a reflection of the changed political conditions in that part of the island and the need for all citizens there to have their rights respected.
“It is also imperative that the issue of rights is set in the wider context of Brexit. The current negotiations between the EU and Britain will conclude today with little sign of progress. In addition, the British remain committed to scrapping the role of the European Court of Justice and eroding the protections afforded by the European Convention on Human Rights. Under the Good Friday Agreement every citizen in the North has the right to EU citizenship. That right must be protected in the current negotiations.”
Dismissing criticism from some unionist leaders about Sinn Féin’s commitment to the political institutions Gerry Adams said:
“Under Martin McGuinness’s leadership, through the work of other Sinn Féin ministers and MLAs, republicans have repeatedly demonstrated our commitment to the political institutions. Sinn Féin’s entire political strategy is vested in workable Good Friday Agreement institutions that are delivering for citizens.
“The Assembly election mandated Sinn Féin to go back into the Executive and Assembly but clearly and only on the basis of equality and the implementation of outstanding issues. Sinn Féin is committed to fulfilling that mandate.”
The Sinn Féin leader urged the Irish government “to stand firm against any suggestion by unionists or the British of a return to Direct Rule. The Irish government has a responsibility under the St Andrew’s Agreement to ensure that direct rule doesn’t reoccur. If for any reason that can’t happen then we have to have a new configuration involving both governments in the absence of a willingness from unionism to embrace the type of dispensation which is required.” ENDS/CRÍOCH