Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Thank you David McNarry - Ní Chuilín

9 October, 2007

Speaking today in the Assembly, Sinn Féin Party Whip Carál Ní Chuilín has thanked David Mc Narry for creating more Irish language speakers and by allowing Irish language enthusiasts to win the arguement of language rights.

She said,

" Go raibh maith agat a cheann comhairle, ba maith liom labhairt i gcoinne an moladh seo. Sinn Féin are opposed to this motion. I believe this motion is divisive, offensive and sinister.

"The issue of language rights a non-contraversial issue in Wales, Scotland, the South of Ireland and throughout Europe, an expression of human rights, has now become a political football in the battle for supremacy between the unionist parties.

"The determination of unionist politicians to block any recognition of the Irish Language is a misguided and macho demonstration of anti-Irish bigotry.

"It's almost as if unionism has decided to define itself by how ferociously anti-Irish it is - pathetic.

"According to the latest census 75,000 people within the six counties "speak, read, write and understand Irish", with an additional 167,000 people saying they had "some knowledge of Irish".

"The increasing demand for Irish medium education is an indication of the value attached to the language by many families in the North.

"These are the plain facts.

"The Irish language has a very particular relationship with the people of Ireland. It is an indigenous language with an unbroken historical line of being spoken here for over 2000 years.

"It is part of a common culture and language that has been shared with Gaelic Scotland for 1,500 years.

"The names of our mountains, rivers, towns and streets are rooted in the Irish language.

"The Irish language is not just a nationalist issue, it is part of the cultural heritage of all of us.

"Indeed the Irish Language is rooted within the proud tradition of presbytarianism and we have many examples of presbytarians who viewed the language as an intregal part of our shared cultural hertitage.

"The British government signed up to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in 2001.

"The Committee of Experts who oversees the implementation of the charter has been consistently critical of the British governments approach to Irish language rights.

"There has been a deliberate attempt to inflate the likely cost of affording language rights to Irish speakers while measures to address the historical exclusion of Irish speakers has been presented as an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer.

"But like many of these arguments that have been deployed by anti-Irish campaigners this is also spurious.

"Where 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.

"The Irish language community is asking to be treated equally in terms of resources with the Welsh language community.

"We need to safeguard the rights of Irish language speakers, those rights that were part of the Good Friday Agreement, that Mr Mc Narry's party supported.

"Mar focail scor ba mhaith liom na rudaí seo a leanas a rá. Mr Mc Narry should know that an Irish Language Act is now with DCAL and shall be discussed on the 25th October. This pre-emptive strike is certainly unhelpful for all.

"Sinn Féin are i gcoinne an moladh seo, Náire oraibh.

"Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a thabhairt do Daithí Mc Narry.

"I would like to thank David Mc Narry, as a result of his motion , in just one week, the demand for people requesting to find out where their local Irish Language society is or where Irish language classes are being held has increased, so thank you David for bringing more enthusiasts to the Irish language. " Críoch

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