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Irish MEPs must work together to ensure necessary provisions are made regarding Irish as an official and working language of the EU - de Brún

8 November, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today urged her fellow Irish MEPs to work together to ensure that the European Parliament makes the necessary provisions regarding Irish as an official and working language of the EU. Ms de Brún said that implementation would 'depend upon vigilance by both the Irish Government and Irish MEPs in the coming months'.

Ms de Brun made her comments as the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern travelled to Brussels to discuss the Irish language, amongst other issues, with the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Speaking this afternoon Ms de Brún said:

"We are at a critical period with regards to implementation of the European Council decision to make Irish an official and working language of the European Union.

"It is imperative that the EU institutions and Irish Government do everything in their power to ensure that the opportunities for Irish speakers are maximised. Some months ago I expressed concern that the European Parliament may roll back on a number of its commitments on provision for the language come January 2007. Since then I have worked hard to challenge this situation, including a number of meetings with EU officials and hosting an Irish language delegation at the European Parliament.

"Implementation will depend upon the vigilance of the Irish Government, Irish MEPs and those campaigners who worked so hard to get us to the point we are at today. The European Parliament has planned further meetings to discuss this matter. I pledge to continue my efforts in the time ahead to ensure that Irish is treated on a par with other European languages. I call upon my fellow MEPs to join with me in this." ENDS

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