Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Máire Nic an Bhaird case highlights need for Irish Language Act

4 January, 2007

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has called for support for a protest tomorrow for the rights of Irish speakers. The protest, which has been organised by Na Gaeil Óga, will take place outside Laganside Court Complex tomorrow, Friday 5th January, at 12 noon.

Ms de Brún said:

"This case highlights the need for Westminster legislation to protect and promote the rights of Irish speakers. In many ways the plight of Máire Nic an Bhaird has become a reference point for Irish speakers throughout the island and a yardstick by which to measure how much recognition will be given to Irish in the North.

"Many people throughout the country are concerned that Máire Nic an Bhaird finds herself before the courts at all. In addition, once legal proceedings were begun, all the documentation and all proceedings should have been in Irish. It is incredible that this matter should still be the subject of discussion and debate many months later. In keeping with the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages, the Good Friday Agreement and the Criminal Justice Review Máire Nic an Bhaird should be entitled to have any and all dealings with the judicial system through the Irish language.

"The lack of an Irish Language Act here leaves Irish speakers in limbo and nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in the case of Máire Nic an Bhaird.

"I would encourage all Irish language speakers to come out and support Máire Nic an Bhaird and to support the protest for Irish language rights and a proper Irish Language Act." ENDS

Note to Editors

Bairbre de Brún MEP and Francie Brolly MLA will join a protest organised by Na Gaeil óga outside Laganside Court Complex tomorrow, Friday 5th January, at 12 noon in support of Máire Nic an Bháird and Rights for Irish speakers in the 6 counties.

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