19 July 2007 Edition

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Adams to meet DUP Culture Minister on Irish language

Announcing a meeting with DUP Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, scheduled for Thursday 26 July, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams reiterated Sinn Féin’s call for the rights of Irish speakers to be safeguarded through appropriate legislation.
 Adams said: “The Irish language is not the property of any one section of our people. It belongs to everyone. I am urging Minister Poots to be long-sighted in this matter. He is in a unique position to show mature leadership. The Irish language threatens no one. It is not compulsory. Irish language rights threaten no-one.

 “The revival of the Irish language has been our country’s cultural success story.  More and more people are using Irish. Young children in particular are being educated in increasing numbers through the medium of Irish and it is their future and their rights that must be secured through legislation.
“The Assembly and Minister Poots must make provisions for those Irish speaking children and all Irish speakers in general.  I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to act without delay to copperfasten and implement the agreement made at St Andrews.”

Adams said there were three essential requirements:
  • That rights are at the heart of the legislation
  • That adequate resources are provided to implement the Act
  • That the proposed commissioner shall have the power, staff and resources to oversee the Act.
Commenting on draft plans for legislation, Adams pointed out:
“Education is not mentioned in the indicative clauses and this is of great concern to Sinn Féin. Government departments should also be included.
“Broadcasting has been specified by the British government as a reserved matter; therefore the onus is on the British government to deliver in the context of the recent Council of Europe statement that they must live up to their minority language responsibilities.
“The commissioner must be fully funded by any Finance Minister and should report to the Secretary of State at least yearly.
“Sinn Féin believes that the Assembly and local councils should also be included in the indicative clauses.
“Public authorities should also grant Irish speakers the right to communicate to them in Irish, as is comparatively the case in Wales.
“The Irish language is not the property of one section of our people. It belongs to everyone.
“I am urging Minister Poots to be long-sighted in this matter. He is in a unique position to show mature leadership.”

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