13 December 2007 Edition
Adams meets Ó Cuiv on Irish Language Act for North
The meeting is to discuss an Irish Language Act for the North.
Speaking in advance of the meeting, Adams said:
“In October, Culture Minister Edwin Poots ruled out the introduction of an Irish Language Act for the North. His decision was contrary to the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement and of the St Andrew’s Agreement – the latter especially – which all of the parties and the British and Irish governments agreed to. It contains a very clear commitment to the introduction of an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland and to work to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language.
“The Irish Government consequently has a central role to play in advancing this issue. Sinn Féin therefore will be briefing Minister Ó Cuiv on the current situation and efforts to secure an Irish Language Act in the North.”
The Sinn Féin delegation said they are urging the Minister to use all of the resources available to him and the status of his office and of the Irish Government to advance the objective of an Irish Language Act in the North.
Gerry Adams said:
“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 Irish language threatens no one. It is not compulsory. Irish language rights threaten no one. There is a clear need for an Irish Language Act to give legal support to those who want to live their lives through the medium of the Irish language.
“However, let us not lose sight of the fact that an Irish Language Act in the North was not needed to create a Shaw’s Road Gaeltacht, or the Gaelaras, An Droichead or the Culturlann. An Act was not needed to establish the Meanscoil or recognition for La Nua or the Gaeltacht Quarter.
“Work was needed and people went out and did that work. And that will continue. But Irish speakers have rights and entitlements, and these must be respected in the introduction of an Irish Language Act.”