Photo: Standing Together for a Stand-Alone Irish Language Act – Representatives from 5 Parties come together to support the community call for Irish Language Act with ‘Historic majority’ of MLAs (50/90) now supporting campaign. (L-R): Nicola Mallon MLA (SDLP), Steven Agnew MLA (Green Party), Gerry Carroll MLA (PBP), Paula Bradshaw MLA (Alliance), Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin (Conradh na Gaeilge) , Gerry Adams TD (Sinn Féin) and President of Conradh na Gaeilge Dr Niall Comer, at The MAC, Belfast.
For the first time elected representatives from the 5 parties have come together with Conradh na Gaeilge to display their support for stand-alone legislation in the form of an Irish-Language Act.
Dr Niall Comer, President, Conradh na Gaeilge, says:
“The message from today’s event is very clear: there is widespread, cross-party, majority support for a stand-alone Irish Language Act. Conradh na Gaeilge has been consistently meeting with all parties, five of which now support the community call for a stand-alone Irish-language Act (Alliance, Green Party, PBP, SDLP, Sinn Féin); that support translates into 50/90 MLAs and an historic majority support within the Assembly for the first time. Given this majority, we now call on those who continue to oppose a stand-alone Irish-language Act to reflect on their position and to acknowledge that the time for change is now. Conradh na Gaeilge would like to thank the parties for their support to date but calls on them to continue to stand together for and with the community as the Stormont talks recommence.
Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge, says:
“Over 20,000 people have filled the streets of Belfast, Newry and Derry to date this year calling for an Irish-language Act. The support of these 5 parties reflects what is being seen on the streets as a result of the phenomenal grassroots campaign from the Irish Language community. During the most recent of 3 public consultations on the Irish-language Act in 2015, 94.7% of over 13,000 responses supported legislative provision for Irish.”
“This local support, from both the public and political representatives, alongside the support of the Irish Government, that of the Council of Europe and the United Nations, as supported by the NI Human Rights Commission, once again highlights the widespread global support for legislative protection for the Irish-language.”
“The Irish Language Community have been waiting too long for the promises made to us at St Andrews to be fulfilled – today we stand together for real change. Acht Anois.”