27 August 1998 Edition

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Assembly should promote language

Gerry Adams, has suggested in a newspaper article this week that the Assembly could set up a Cultural department to assist in the implementation of the provisions in the Good Friday document relating to the Irish language.

He said he had been concerned that equality for the language had not been included in the British government's recent Northern Ireland Bill. But he welcomed the fact that the Department of Education in the Six Counties had undertaken to ``facilitate and encourage Irish-medium education'' in line with existing legislation on integrated education.

Adams also said he hoped to hear soon from the British government a date for the implementation of part three of the European charter on regional and minority languages which would give Irish the same level of equality as Welsh. ``Our job will be to scrutinise, very carefully, all steps that are taken in the coming months and, even once the various provisions have been enacted and once the charter has been signed and Irish has been specified, it will just be the beginning.''

He added that the Assembly and north/south bodies could spearhead a similar drive at that level. ``When dealing with the new departments and ministries which are to be set up, we would like to see a department for culture, arts and the Irish language and we also think that the Irish language ia a very obvious and clear area for all-island bodies,'' he said.

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