Derry Journal

Irish Language Activists Welcome Move In Europe

By Michael Mcmonagle
Friday 23rd July 2004

Irish language activists in Derry have welcomed the announcement that the Irish government are to apply to have the Irish language recognised as a official working language by the European parliament.

Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney congratulated everyone who was involved in the ST¡DAS campaign for their 'hard work and determination' on the issue.

Speaking this week Mr McCartney said, "Irish speakers throughout Ireland were very disappointed that the Irish government did not seek the status of official working language of the EU during the Irish Presidency. I am delighted that they are to do so now." "Irish language activists and speakers have tirelessly lobbied to ensure that the Irish language will no longer be treated as a second-class language within the EU," he said. Commenting on the timing of the announcement by the Irish government, Mr McCartney said, "It can not be purely coincidental that the Irish government announced its intention on the day in which Sinn FÈin's two new MEPs entered the European Parliament. The intention of our two MEPs to lobby within the Parliament for the adoption of the Language as a working language of the EU was widely known."

The announcement was also welcomed by Irish language activists from An Gaelaras in Great James' Street. The acting director of the centre, Donncha Mac Niallais, described the move as an 'historic step.'

"This will have far reaching implications for all those involved in the promotion and use of the Irish language," he said.

"If the application is successful, it will create job opportunities for translators and interpreters within the Irish sector and will raise the profile of the Irish language," he added.

"We would like to congratulate Stadas, the group who brought Irish speakers together from all over the Island to campaign for a reversal of the Irish government's original decision not to pursue the matter further. The success of their powerful and high profile campaign will be warmly welcomed both north and south of the border."

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