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Bairbre de Brún MEP reiterates demand for Irish Language Act in North

29 July, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will this evening participate in a panel discussion as part of the Sinn Féin Slogadh celebrations, where she will demand an Irish Language Act for the Six Counties.

The annual Sinn Féin Slogadh opened yesterday evening in West Belfast. The Slogadh was first organised 20 years ago by Sinn Féin to give Irish Language speakers and activists within the party an opportunity to debate and discuss relevant issues, and to establish friendships with people living in Gaeltacht areas.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

“Sinn Féin has been working hard to ensure that Irish language speakers in the six counties are afforded the same rights and entitlements as speakers throughout the rest of the country. To this end, we have raised the issue of the introduction of an Irish Language Act for the North of Ireland,
with the British Government in negotiations.

“The British Government has dragged its feet on this issue, and has adopted a piecemeal approach to honouring its obligations through the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. Sinn Féin is actively working with leading Irish language organisations to ensure that this issue remains a priority for both governments.

“Tonight’s panel discussion, organised through the Sinn Féin Slogadh celebrations, will discuss ways in which this campaign can move forward in the coming months. It is an exciting time for Irish language activists. The achievement of the Irish Languages Act in 2003 in the South and the appointment there of an Irish language Commissioner has raised hopes in the North. Some excellent work has been done by POBAL charting the issues and possibilities, carrying out widespread consultation and putting forward details proposals for an Irish Language Act for the Six Counties.

The focus, therefore, has now shifted from a demand for an Irish Language Act to a demand that the British government move to put the details of the POBAL proposals for an Irish Language Act into legislation” ENDS

Notes to Editor:

1. 7.30pm - 8.30pm - A discussion on Language Rights will take place in An Droichead, Cooke Street off the Lower Ormeau Road. This discussion will involve contributions from Bairbre deBrún (Sinn Fein), Dominic Bradely (SDLP) and Marcas MacRuairí, one of those co-ordinated the work on the
Language Act for POBAL

2. Irish will become an official and working language of the EU on January 1st 2007

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