Irish Language

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Sinn Féin MEP supports Irish government's move for language recognition

2 December 04

Sinn Féin and United Left Group (GUE-NGL) MEP Bairbre de Brún has welcomed the news of Irish government efforts in Brussels to have the Irish language recognised as an official working language of the European Union. Ms de Brún said that these moves to recognise the language were as a result of the 'hard work, determination and commitment of Irish language campaigners'.

Ms de Brún added:

"I welcome the fact that the Irish government has formally requested today to have Irish recognised as an official working language of the EU. I am pleased to see that the Irish government has taken on board the views of Irish language enthusiasts and set in train this process, although I will await the impact of their decision to seek a derogation with regard to translating some official documents.

"Sinn Féin has made the recognition of the Irish language at EU level a party priority and has campaigned long and hard with other Irish speakers and Irish language organisations to ensure that Irish is recognised an on official working language of the EU. Not only will this provide jobs for a number of translators, it also represents equality of treatment for the language at an EU level.

"On a practical level, this step today should lead to a situation where I can use Irish in my daily work in the European Parliament to an extent not possible at present. Only last week I was reminded once again that when I speak in Irish during European Parliament debates those words are not translated or written into the minutes.

"I want to pay tribute to the STÁDAS campaigners who fought tirelessly to ensure equal status for the language at an EU level. The campaign has reached this point specifically because of their hard work, determination and commitment."

Ms de Brún's campaign for the rights of Irish speakers highlights just one of the increasing number of anomalies brought about by the EU's headlong rush for expansion and centralisation, and the cavalier attitude to democratic rights which is accompanying this. Perhaps the starkest example is provided by Catalan, whose ten million speakers have no right to use their own language, but the EU-25 now contains dozens of linguistic minorities denied this basic democratic right.