Kearney commends Mayor’s Seachtain na Gaeilge event
Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney has commended the highly successful Seachtain na Gaeilge concert and reception hosted by DUP mayor, Paul Hamill.
Mr Kearney said:
“I was delighted to attend the Seachtain Na Gaeilge celebration in The Theatre at the Mill in Newtownabbey for what was a highly enjoyable night of entertainment provided by Gaelscoileanna and Naíscoileanna from right across the Antrim and Newtownabbey council area.
“This was one of many events which have been taking place across the north marking Irish Language Week, and was a wonderful testament to the vibrancy of Irish language and culture which continues to grow through Irish Medium Education provision and community organisations across the local borough.
“I commend Mayor Paul Hamill for the grace he has shown in arranging this celebration of Irish language and culture in the borough, and in particular for his opening remarks delivered as Gaeilge.
“I congratulate him on the fluency of his remarks, and his natural turn of phrase. This was a particularly nice element of the evening.
"The Mayor's use of Gaeilge was an important gesture of respect towards the Irish cultural traditions and language. This is as it should be.
“It is nevertheless disappointing that such a gesture remains the exception rather than the norm.
“Whilst it is of course welcome, and has been very warmly received by the Irish language community throughout South Antrim, the fact is general lack of respect exists for the Irish language, reinforced by a refusal to recognise Irish speakers' rights as ratepayers to live their lives through the medium of Irish.
“I believe there are pragmatic individuals within the DUP, and wider political unionism who recognise there is no threat from the Irish language to their traditions or community identity. However those voices need to be heard. The destructive, incendiary language and blatant disrespect from some in political unionism towards Irish cultural traditions is unacceptable.
"The Irish language belongs to everyone in this society: I recognise it is as much Paul Hamill's language, as it is mine." Ends/Críoch