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Lack of Irish translators may delay full working EU status for Irish language -Mary Lou McDonald

8 December, 2005


Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has
today questioned whether the Government has fully prepared for the
introduction of Irish as a full working language of the European Union in
January 2007.

Ms McDonald made her comments after a meeting was arranged in the European
Parliament between Irish MEPs and European officials where it emerged that
EU officials recommended the deferment of full implementation of the
language due to a lack of Irish interpreters.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The meeting sought to explore the practicalities of introducing the
language as a full working language of the European Union. I was shocked
to learn that European officials were recommending the deferment of full
implementation of the language due to a lack of Irish interpreters.
European officials also made it clear that it was the responsibility of
the Irish Government to ensure that people were trained up as interpreters
for Irish language translation in the EU Parliament.

"I want to ask the government directly if they are confident that enough
translators are available to ensure the full implementation of the
language on January 1st 2007. The Government must now state publicly
whether or not it can meet the challenge of facilitating the training of
sufficient numbers of interpreters to meet that date in just over one
year's time. I will be seeking to raise this issue with the government in
the time ahead

"For more than 30 years, Irish language campaigners had been lobbying the
Government to seek full EU working status for the language. It is
unacceptable that this may now be delayed even further because of
Government failure to prepare for the introduction of the language in
2007." ENDS




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