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Censorship of Irish language activist outrageous – Doherty

17 July, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin TD for Donegal South West Pearse Doherty has hit out at what he called the “blatant censorship” of local Irish language and Guth na Gaeltachta campaigner Donall Ó Cnáimhsí.

Doherty was responding to media reports today which show how Mr Ó Cnáimhsí, a gardener in Glenveagh National Park, was issued a letter from his employers in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht after he criticised the Gaeltacht Bill which is currently going through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The letter states that Mr Ó Cnáimhsí “may have breached” the terms of his employment by speaking out against the Bill which Gaeltacht groups and opposition TDs believe is being rushed through the Dáil without adequate debate.

Speaking from Leinster House today Deputy Doherty said:

“I find it incredible that someone like Donall Ó Cnáimhsí, who is rightfully seen as a champion of the Irish language, should be effectively gagged and prevented from airing his views on this issue which is so important for the future of the language. This blatant censorship is nothing short of outrageous.

“At a time when citizens are rightfully encouraged to engage in the democratic process it really does smack of hypocrisy that someone should have their job threatened for doing just that.

“Guth na Gaeltachta is an organisation that has done Trojan work for the language. Were it not for this and the many other organisations like it, the Irish language would be in an even worse state. Far from censorship the state owes a debt of gratitude to these organisations for their efforts in keeping the language alive and vibrant.

“Questions need to be answered here. It is hard to believe that this originated from an official in the department far removed from Donegal. It is also hard to believe that a HR official made the connection between Donall Ó Cnáimhsí who spoke on Raidió na Gaeltachta and “Mr Bonner” to whom the letter is addressed.  What knowledge did the Minister of State have of this letter?  Who is behind it?

“I am calling on Minister of State McGinley to ensure that this letter is withdrawn and an apology issued to Mr Ó Cnaimhsí without delay.”

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