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Gerry Adams joins protest for school teacher arrested for speaking Irish

18 September, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has today branded the trial of Irish language teacher Máire Nic an Bhaird "a disgrace".

Mr Adams was speaking after the resumption of the case against the Belfast woman arrested after speaking Irish on a Belfast street earlier this year. The Sinn Féin President joined a protest this morning outside the court in Belfast city centre. Mr Adams was joined by party colleagues Caitríona Ruane and Francie Brolly. This morning's session was due to rule on whether Ms Nic an Bhaird will receive relevant papers in Irish and that she herself will be able to address the court in Irish.

Speaking today Mr Adams said:

"It is an absolute disgrace that this young woman is up in court for using her own language on a Belfast street. Had she spoken German, French or Italian she simply would not have been arrested. People have inalienable rights, including language rights.

"This case once again clearly highlights the urgent need for an Irish Language Act for the six counties. Sinn Féin is 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." ENDS

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