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DUP must step up to plate on Irish language - Gerry Adams TD

3 December, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said the DUP must step up to the plate and live up its responsibilities in government to the Irish language.

He was speaking this morning at the Sinn Féin Slógadh taking place in Richmond Barracks, Dublin.

Teachta Adams said:

"There are very real and justifiable concerns amongst the Irish language community relating to the absence of an Irish language strategy from the draft Programme for Government in the north. The reality is that the DUP has so far not agree to its inclusion.

"Despite the continuous opposition of the leaders of Unionism, Sinn Féin have delivered considerably for the Irish language in government - through negotiations and through our departments the north. Sinn Féin Ministers have consistently improved the condition of Irish medium education. We have supported Acht na Gaeilge and have continuously called on both the Irish and British governments to fulfil the commitments made in the St. Andrew’s Agreement.

"Carál Ní Chuilín brought an Irish language strategy to the Executive in the last term, but it was rejected by the DUP and UUP.

"In relation to the recent Programme for Government, we were successful in including a commitment to an tAcadamh, taking forward the Gaeltacht Quarter Action Plan and securing an acknowledgement of the importance of Gaeilge to our cultural heritage.

"We tried to get agreement on the inclusion of an Irish language strategy right up to the close of negotiations and we recognise the frustrations of the Irish language community regarding its absence. I share those frustrations, and it is crucially important that the voice of Pobal na Gaeilge is heard.

"We must demand that the DUP steps up to the plate, and acknowledges that Irish identity, culture and the Irish language are as equal and valid as any other cultural background and must be treated as such. That respect must be reflected in government. It also means respecting and assisting Gaelscoileanna develop and to reach their full potential as a sector that positively contributes to society and to the lives of thousands of citizens.

"There is a real need now for a collective recognition that an Gaeilge is an asset to our nation and communities, and organisations are equipped with the means of growing use the language. Unionist leaders must acknowledge that the Irish language is not a threat to anyone."

Dúirt se:

"Glacaim go bhfuil daoine buartha nach bhfuil Straitéis Gaeilge sa dhréachtchlár Rialtais sa Tuaisceart. Faroar géar is í an fhírinne nach mbeidh an DUP ag aontú le seo a chur isteach.

"I rialtas, thacaigh Shinn Féin le hAcht na Gaeilge agus d'iarr muid go rialta ar Rialtas na Breataine agus na hÉireann a gcuid dualgaisí faoi Chomhaontú Chill Rímhinn a chomhlíonadh ina iomlán. Thacaigh muid fosta le straitéis Gaeilge a chur i bhfeidhm. Anois tá tréimhse comhairliúcháin agus cé gur beag seans go n-athróidh an DUP a ndearcadh tá sé tábhachtach go mbeidh glór ag pobal na Gaeilge sa phróiséas comhairliúcháin.

"Gcaithfí meas a thabhairt ar Gaelscoileanna agus cúnamh a thabhairt dóibh barr a gcumas a bhaint amach agus a fhorbairt mar ghrúpa a chuireann le saol na mílte agus a imríonn deathiochar ar an tsochaí.

"Is le muintir na hEireann ar fad an Ghaeilge agus ní chuireann sí isteach ar éinne. Caithfidh an DUP glacadh le sin."

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