Saturday, June 09, 2007


Irish speakers march in Belfast

I wish to convey my support to the Irish speakers who have taken to the streets of Belfast in support of official recognition for the Irish language.

The march, organised by Irish language group Pobal, made its way from the Falls Road to the city centre and campaigners are seeking a comprehensive, rights-based Irish language act.

The consultation period on a proposed law ended on Tuesday, with more than 4,000 responses sent to the British government.

The draft bill proposes the creation of an Irish language commissioner and giving people the right to use Irish in court.

These are simple demands which ought to be honoured but - surprise, surprise! - many unionist politicians have promised to block any bill in Stormont. This is nothing but petty sectarianism on their part and they should be ashamed of themselves. Bunch of bigots.

Speaking this morning, Janet Muller, the head of Pobal, said she was saddened by the recent negative comments from a few politicians about Irish speakers and the Irish language.

As am I. Quite simply it's nothing short of disgraceful. According to the 2001 census more than 10% of the North's population can speak their native tongue so the language deserves more respect. Unionists who plan on blocking the bill are motivated by nothing other than hatred and anti-Irishness. After all it was the DUP's Sammy Wilson who referred to the Irish language as a "leprechaun language". A very revealing insight into how many unionists feel.

Best of luck to the marchers I say. Let the people of Britain and the wider world see how pathetic some of these unionist politicians really are.


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