Irish language speakers will not be denied the right to use their own language - Ní séanfar a gcearta labhartha Ghaeilge ar Ghaelgeoirí
Sinn Féin Language and Culture Spokesperson, East Derry MLA Francie Brolly and Six County MEP Bairbre de Brún have urged Irish language speakers to join the protest outside a Belfast Courthouse to highlight the demand for Irish language speakers to be allowed to freely use their language without fear of arrest or intimidation.
Mr Brolly said:
"It is an outrage that an Irish language schoolteacher should be arrested and subjected to abusive and threatening behaviour by the PSNI for speaking Irish on a Belfast street.
"Is scannál glan amach é gur gabhadh muinteoir Ghaeilge agus gur imríodh leatrom agus idé bhéil uirthí ag SPTÉ mar gheall ar í a bheith a labhairt as Gaeilge.
"Tomorrow her case comes again before the courts in Belfast and I will join a picket organised by Irish language activists and speakers and would encourage other to come along.
"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.
"Ní séanfar ar gcearta labhartha Gaeilge ar ár sráideanna féin orainn ag an SPTÉ nó ag duine ar bith eile.‰
Speaking from Strasbourg today Ms de Brún said:
"It is important that Irish school teacher Máire Nic an Bhaird should be able to have any and all dealings with the court through the Irish language. Language Rights are basic human rights and this one case has made Sinn Féin determined to ensure the rights of Irish language speakers are protected and promoted.
"We are working to ensure that Irish language speakers in the six counties are afforded the same rights as speakers throughout the rest of the country and have raised the issue of an Irish Language Act in negotiations with the British Government.
"In the South the 2003 Irish Languages Act and the appointment of an Irish language Commissioner have raised hopes in the North. POBAL have brought forward detailed proposals for an Irish Language Act for the six counties.
"Sinn Féin's demand is now for the British government to put the POBAL proposals for an Irish Language Act into legislation.
"Tá Sinn Féin ag éilimh anois go ndéanfaidh Rialtas na Breataine Reachtaíocht a thabhairt chun tosaigh, le hAcht Gaeilge, mar atá iarrtha ag Pobal a thabhairt i bhfeidhm." ENDS