The differences in support for the Irish language north and south were pointed out by Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams on his recent visit to Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail in Newry for Slógadh.

Speaking at the event the Louth TD said “The Government has made massive reductions in language funding in recent years.  The Irish language and Irish speakers better. Irish deserves to be nurtured and developed as a vital component of our national cultural identity,

Gerry Adams TD at Slogadh
Gerry Adams TD at Slógadh

“In the North by contrast, the Líofa programme continues to go from strength-to-strength, with now over 15,000 participants, and Sinn Féin Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has overseen a range of other measures in order to improve engagement with the Irish language, including providing bursaries for children from low income families to attend Gaeltacht courses.

“Carál has also recently published a Draft Acht na Gaeilge, which Sinn Féin remain firmly committed to, in spite of opposition from the main parties of Unionism."

The TD concluded “What Sinn Féin in office have shown is the forward thinking and practical support required from the Government in Dublin so that the Irish language can prosper and reach its potential. They must step up to the plate and deliver on their responsibilities to the Irish language.”

Sinn Féin’s National Chairperson Declan Kearney also added “The recent Stormont Agreement implementation plan provides a new opportunity to look towards enhancing the status of the Irish language in the six counties. Support for an Irish language act is continuing to grow. Legislation is a necessary next step in the north. 

“Every day over 5,000 children in the six counties are taught through the medium of Irish. The Irish language community in the north is growing, and on an increasingly cross community basis. That is hugely significant. 

“A shared future must be based upon mutual respect, parity of esteem and equality. In that context, the Irish language should be embraced and valued as a significant resource with which to build reconciliation in the north.

 “The Irish language is a positive force for educational, cultural, economic and social change. That potential needs to be harnessed and given expression through good legislation North and South.

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