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UUP have nothing to fear from Irish language

24 August, 2007

Responding to media reports claiming that the UUP MLA team believe that the proposed Irish language legislation is a "republican cultural weapon in their ongoing struggle against unionism" and should not be supported, Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Irish language Francie Brolly MLA has said that the UUP have missed the point.

Mr Brolly said:

"The UUP claim that any Irish language legislation is a negative move. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Irish language is a threat to no-one and it is not compulsory. What do the UUP have to fear from multi-lingualism?

"What does Unionism have to fear from safeguarding Irish language rights? The language belongs to everyone; catholic, protestant and dissenter. What was agreed in the St Andrews Agreement protects the rights of those 4000 Irish speaking children which the UUP and the new Assembly now represent. The legislation enshrines the Irish language within a multicultural and multilingual society. Can the UUP tell me what is wrong with this?

"Ireland is changing into a positive, vibrant and welcoming entity which provides for all and the language has a part to play in uniting everyone. I urge the UUP to be long-sighted in this matter." Críoch

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