"Irish Language must be included in new EU funds" Sinn Féin MPS
Sinn Fein MPs Conor Murphy (Newry/Armagh) and Francie Molloy (Mid-Ulster) have called for the Irish language to be clearly referenced in the new EU funding programmes which are currently being developed for the north of Ireland, and the border counties, for 2014-2020.
The two MP’s were speaking following a presentation by Irish language activists to the Oireachtas' Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement Committee in Dublin today.
The MPs said,
"An ideal opportunity already exists to promote cultural tolerance and understanding of the Irish language via the “Peace” programme. This was set up by the European Union specifically to help support the peace process and deliver peace and reconciliation, cultural tolerance and understanding.
“This programme has invested over £1 billion on peace and reconciliation projects over the past fifteen years. However, it has to date unfortunately, largely failed to acknowledge the need or to address the issue of intolerance towards the Irish language".
Conor Murphy MP said,
"The SEUPB are the implementing body for the Peace Programme and recently invited consultations in relation to ‘Peace IV’ - due to commence implementation in 2014.
“Despite the volume of Irish-language-based submissions the SEUPB summary, the consultation exercise made no reference to the high percentage of Irish language organisations that submitted and no reference whatsoever to the need to deal with prejudice against the Irish language or the need for building cultural tolerance towards the language.
“I believe that the post consultation summary of the submissions carried out by the SEUPB at best, fails to reflect the many valid points raised in Irish-language submissions and misrepresents the pertinent points in most of these submissions".
Francie Molloy MP concluded,
"The opportunity to deliver an understanding and cultural tolerance of the Irish Language within the Peace programmes to date has been squandered and ‘Peace IV’ is likely to provide the last meaningful opportunity to deal with this important issue through the Peace programme".