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Sinn Féin MEPS discuss language rights with EU officials

8 July, 2015 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Following the 3rd and 4th monitoring cycles on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Committee of Ministers recommended that Britain, as a matter of priority, should "adopt and implement a comprehensive Irish language policy, preferably through the adoption of legislation providing statutory rights for the Irish speakers".

On the back of meetings with Caral Ni Chuilin's department Liadh Ní Riada MEP and Martina Anderson MEP met with Mr Thorsten Afflerbach who is the head of Secretariat for European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages to discuss this recommendation and how the introduction of legislation can help to protect and develop regional or minority languages.

Speaking following the meeting Liadh Ní Riada MEP said:

"This meeting was a useful engagement and Martina and I, along with Caral Ni Chuilin, hope to meet with Dr Vesna Crnic-Grotic who is the Chair of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in the next few months to discuss this in further detail. 

"Acht na Gaeilge is a commitment under the St. Andrews agreement and it is about achieving rights and equality for those who use the language every day.

“It also a matter of cultural identity for a great many people who live on the island of Ireland.

“The protection and enhancement of the Irish language does not pose a threat to anybody.

“In fact, it will improve levels of appreciation for cultural diversity across all communities.

"On 10 February 2015, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure launched a public consultation on proposals for an Irish Language Bill and thousands of submissions were made.

"The rights of Irish speakers need to be afforded official protection in legislation”.

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