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Respect for Irish language key to multicultural society - Kearney

27 November, 2015

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney has said the Irish language can play a key role in promoting reconciliation. 

Mr Kearney said; 

"The Irish language, belongs to everybody and threatens no one.

"There is no contradiction in unionists seeking to learn or speak Irish, or for republicans to be interested in orange culture and traditions.

"Just last week Sinn Féin held a successful Slógadh which was attended by more than 100 Irish language activists, academics, public representatives and was addressed by Linda Ervine among others. 

"All cultural expressions and identities should co exist and deserve to be respected.  That means mainstreaming equality, and demonstrating parity of esteem for the Gaelic, orange and other traditions.

"Already the Irish language has shown its potential as resource for helping to develop reconciliation.

"How we view and treat the language and the status conferred upon it by the states north and south, will be a benchmark of actual commitment to legislate and commit support for a multicultural society going forward in Ireland, and ensure respect for ethnic and linguistic diversity.

"The Stormont House Agreement Implementation Plan must now be maximised as a ‘fresh start’ for the future of the Irish language on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

"Sinn Féin will continue to play its part by garnering support for an Ghaeilge in the political institutions; in Europe, Leinster House, the Assembly, North/South Ministerial Council, cross border bodies, and within local councils."

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