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de Brún backs protest after PSNI arrest woman for speaking Irish on Belfast street

18 July, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has described the arrest of an Irish language school teacher in Belfast for speaking Irish as ‘treatment which brings us back to the days of the penal laws’.

Ms de Brún made her comments before she was due to attend a protest tomorrow along with Irish language activists at the Belfast court where the woman’s case will be heard.

Ms de Brún said:

“I want to express my anger at the arrest of an Irish language schoolteacher after she spoke in Irish on a Belfast street. The woman continued to speak in Irish, as is her right, and I am told that the PSNI member became abusive and pushed the woman before arresting her. She was held in a Belfast PSNI barracks before being charged with disorderly behaviour.

“Tomorrow her case comes before the courts in Belfast and I will join a picket organised by Irish language activists and speakers. This sort of behaviour by the PSNI is a throwback to the penal days. Irish language speakers will not be denied our basic right to speak our own language on our own streets by the PSNI or anyone else. That is the clear message coming from this case.” ENDS

Editors Note: The protest will take place tomorrow (Wednesday 19th July) at 10am outside the Laganside Court complex.

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