8 July 2004 Edition
Taoiseach confirms Government did not ask for full status
Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described as "disgraceful" the Taoiseach's confirmation during Questions in the Dáil today that the government had not sought full official and working status for the Irish language during its EU presidency.
In answer to a question from Ó Caoláin the Taoiseach said that the Government was still studying what form of further recognition for Irish to request from the EU.
"None of the EU member governments that the Taoiseach met repeatedly over the past six months has objected to full status for Irish," said Ó Caoláin.
"The Taoiseach has confirmed that the government is looking for some non-existent halfway house. The Taoiseach must know that the procedure to be followed to achieve full working status is straightforward. The government has to inform the Council of Ministers that the Irish Government wishes the Irish language to be an official working language of the European Union; it then has to request the European Commission to draft and put before the Council of Ministers the appropriate amendment to Regulation 1, 1958.
"The Taoiseach must realise that there is no half way house. Full status would be both a practical and a symbolic advance for the Irish language. He should accept the wishes of all parties in the Oireachtas and the overwhelming support for this proposal in the country, and act to make it happen."