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Irish as an official EU language will enhance Europe's multilingualism - Bairbre de Brún

5 September, 2006


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today welcomed a European Parliament report which stresses that multilingualism is one of the key features of the European Union. Ms de Brún said that implementing the decision to make Irish an official and working language of the EU with effect from 1 January 2007 would 'enhance linguistic diversity within the EU'.

The report by Alexander Stubb MEP addresses the issue of EU languages interpretation expenditure.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Last year, the European Council decided to make Irish an official and working language of the EU with effect from 1 January 2007, adding Irish to the list of twenty languages to have this status. This is an exciting time for Irish language speakers, activists and enthusiasts.

"I want to welcome Alexander Stubb MEPs comments regarding the issue of multilingualism. He noted that multilingualism was one of the key features of the EU which 'highlights cultural and linguistic diversity and ensures equal treatment of EU citizens'. He also points out that the total cost of all linguistic services of the EU institutions, including translation and interpretation represents only 1% of the EU budget.

"I am pleased that the Irish language can take its rightful place amongst the official and working languages of the EU. It is vital that Irish citizens have equal treatment with regards to their native language and can communicate and carry out business with the EU institutions in Irish.

"It is essential in the coming weeks and months that the focus remains on ensuring the smooth implementation of the decision to make Irish an official and working language of the EU. The European Parliament in particular must be more ambitious in its pursuit of what is possible for the Irish language in an EU context, given recent proposals in that body to provide only limited translation and interpretation from January 1st 2007." ENDS

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