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de Brún addresses European parliament on Irish language provision

5 October, 2006

"Each MEP should be able to use the language of their choice and the European parliament should take practical steps to achieve this in the earliest possible timescale." said Bairbre de Brún in Brussels today.

Ms de Brún was addressing the Committee on Constitutional Affairs on the subject of provision for Irish as an official and working language of the EU and the relevant rules of procedure in the European parliament ( Rule 138 and Rule 139).

Addressing the committee in Irish, English, French and German, today, Ms de Brún emphasised the importance of multilingualism and stressed that Irish should not be treated less favourably than other languages.

Ms de Brún said:

"The European Council has decided to make Irish an official and working language of the European Union and Irish must now be on a par with other European languages. There have clearly been some difficulties in implementation with a number of languages, and this is normal when any new languages are introduced. We must work to overcome any barriers and not give up on our commitment to multilingualism.

"This should apply not only to speaking in the parliament but also to the provision of documents, brochures, leaflets and website material, indeed to any interface between citizens and the European institutions."

Speaking after the meeting, Ms de Brún said:

"It would appear that the first steps have been taken in a process that could see Irish treated less favourably than other European languages. It is important that the Committee on Constitutional Affairs is aware of this and of the issues involved.

"I believe that I got a good hearing at the Committee today and that I was able to put forward a strong case for continued commitment to the Irish language.

"It is important that Irish MEPs make it clear that there must be no question of discrimination." Ends

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