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16 August 2007 Edition

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Government assault on Irish language continues - Ó Snodaigh

Sinn Féin TD  Aengus  Ó  Snodaigh  has  criticised  proposals from the Minister  of  State with responsibility for integration Conor Lenihan in which  he  has called for the removal of Irish language requirements for civil servants.
Ó Snodaigh said that while he agrees with the need to increase  the number of foreign nationals in the Civil Service this does not have to be at the expense of our own national language.
Speaking in Dublin on Monday Ó Snodaigh  said: “I want to welcome the new  taskforce on integration which will hopefully help to significantly improve the quality of life for our new immigrant communities.
“However  I  cannot  agree  with  the Minister’s proposals to remove the Irish  language  requirements for the Civil Service.  The integration of foreign  nationals  into the public sector workforce does not have to be at  the expense of the Irish language.  What Sinn Féin would like to see is  extra  opportunities  for foreign nationals to learn and embrace the Irish language.
“One of the key focuses of the new task force is to  have English language tuition made available for young and old immigrants.  There is absolutely no reason why Irish language tuition could not also be included.
“This  proposal  from  Minister Lenihan is part of an ongoing Government assault on the Irish language and culture which has included the removal of  Irish  language  requirements  from An Garda Síochána, the attempted removal  from  the  teaching profession, the destruction of the National Heritage site at the Hill of Tara and has allowed the sale of historical documents relating to the 1916 Rising.
“And  only  last  week  Education  Minister  Mary  Hanafin  proposed the introduction  of  teaching through the medium of the English language in Gaelscoileanna. All  of  this  is indicative of Fianna Fáil’s ‘laissez faire’ attitude to the Irish language.”
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