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DUP must stop diatribe against Irish language

3 September, 2007

Responding to a statement by DUP anti-Irish campaigner Peter Weir MLA on the return of the six county assembly and the Irish language, Sinn Féin spokesperson on the language Francie Brolly MLA has sais that the DUP must now stop the soundbites and realise that they are dealing with an issue that affects peoples everyday lives.

He said,

"The DUPs opposition to a cultural tool such as the Irish language is peculicar to say the least. This is an opportunity to show real leadership and the likes of anti-Irish language campaigners such as Peter Weir and Nelson Mc Causeland should show maturity rather than appealing to the lowest of sectarian instincts. The bottom line is that the DUPs blinkered approach to what was agreed at St Andrews can be countered by simply looking at the text of the agreement.

"Mr Weir has used the arguement that this is a case of spending money on gimmickry? Where is the gimickry in the last Census figures which show that 75,000 people within the Six Counties "speak, read, write and understand Irish" with a further 167,000 people who said they had "some knowledge of Irish"? Where is the gimmickry in supporting a growing language in a multi-cultural society? Between 1991 and 2001 (the date of the last census) Irish speakers increased by 18%. The increasing demand for Irish medium education is an indication of the value attached to the language by many families in the North.

Mr Brolly continued,

"The debate around costing of an Irish language Act is of course an important issue but where extra costs are incurred, the bottom line has to be that Irish speakers are also taxpayers and have been paying towards their own exclusion for decades. All the Irish speaking community is asking is to be treated equally in terms of resources with the Welsh language community,"


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