Time for the British government to match words with action and bring forward an Irish Language Act
Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Irish language Francie Brolly MLA this evening welcomed Direct Rule Minister David Hanson‚s positive comments on the Irish language but said it was long past time that these comments were backed by action. The Sinn Féin Assembly member called for the immediate enactment of an Irish Language Act which would give legal protection to the Irish speaking community and outlaw discrimination and petty bigotry against the language.
Mr. Brolly said:
„Sinn Fein welcomes the commitment to the principles of the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages expressed on behalf of the British Government by David Hanson, Direct Rule Minister for Culture. We particularly welcome his acknowledgement of the importance the Irish language plays in our society.
"However, the reality is that the Minister‚s views are odds with the behaviour and actions of many government departments and officials and the result is that Irish language speakers continue to face discrimination.
"For example, 30% of the viewing public in the Six Counties still cannot access TG4 on terrestrial TV despite repeated undertakings to remedy this; the Administration of Justice (Language) Act Ireland 1737 bans the use of Irish in the courts again despite repeated undertakings to remedy this; the Department of Regional Development has instructed Newry & Mourne District Council that fáilte (welcome) signs it has erected on the outskirts of Newry will have to be removed because they are in Irish.
"These are just a few examples of the ingrained prejudice against the language. Minister Hanson must ensure that his positive remarks are matched by positive actions. One way in which he can do this is to support the enacting of an Irish Language Act which will give legal protection to the Irish speaking community and outlaw discrimination and petty bigotry against the language."ENDS