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Sinn Féin delegation in Welsh Assembly visit

25 February, 2009 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader John O'Dowd MLA has led a party delegation on a visit to the Welsh Assembly; the delegation included party activists Seán Oliver and Rosie McCorley, as well as Cllr Gerry Mac Lochlainn from Derry.

While there they met with representatives from across the political parties, including Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservative Party as well as Labour.

The purpose of the visit was to focus on issues such as cultural and language rights as well as education.

Speaking from Cardiff this afternoon Mr O'Dowd said,

"Today we met with a number of political parties, as well as the Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly and the Chair of the Enterprise and Learning Committee.

"One of our main focuses was on Language and Language rights and trying to discover how in Wales the issue of Language protection and promotion went from such a divisive issue to an issue with cross party support and endorsement.

"Sinn Féin is serious about the promotion and protection of the Irish Language and we want to learn from best practice in other Celtic Nations.

"As well as this our delegation discussed the issue of education and educational reform and how that transition can be made in the best possible way within the North of Ireland. Bear in mind that Wales abandoned the Eleven Plus model 40 years ago, without the world falling down around them to a current position of having an excellent education system.

"Today we have met a number of party leaders and discussed a wide range of issues. The Assembly in Wales, and the Scottish Parliament, are now well established and we can learn from their experiences. There is a common social agenda. We are in the early stages of our institution and we want to listen and share experiences with both Wales and Scotland to see how we can progress." CRÍOCH

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