26 October 2006 Edition

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Progress made on Irish language Act

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams met British Direct Rule Minister Maria Eagle on Tuesday on matters relating to the implementation of the West Belfast Task Force and the introduction of an Irish Language Act.

Adams was accompanied by West Belfast MLA Fra McCann, Séanna Walsh and Ciarán Kearney of Sinn Féin, Fr Des Wilson and Moya Hinds from Conway Mill, Janet Muller of Pobal and Seán Ó Coinn of Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta.

Speaking after the meeting, Gerry Adams said: "The Economic Task Force report was published in February 2002 and arose from sustained campaigning by Sinn Féin. This initiative had credibility within the community then and it won cross-party support within the Assembly.

"Task Force outputs were also incorporated within the Joint Declaration issued three years ago by the British and Irish Governments.

"While some progress has been made in the implementation of the report, there have been delays, particularly in respect of funding for flagship projects like Conway Mill.

"However, after this evening's meeting I am very hopeful that significant investment will be made into Conway Mill in the near future. We also made progress in our discussions on a number of other important projects, including the Gaeltacht Quarter.

"Our discussions with the Minister about the introduction of an Irish Language Act were also productive. Sinn Féin has consistently raised this issue with the British Government and at St Andrews the British Government committed itself to 'introduce an Irish Language Act'.

"Irish language speakers in the North are entitled to the same rights and entitlements as everyone else.

"Of course, there will be resistance to an Irish Language Act, but this evening's meeting is the start of an intense process to ensure that the British Government fulfils this commitment."

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