[Sinn Fein]

2nd June 2003

de Brún calls for Irish language rights legislation

Speaking today at the launch in Belfast of `An Breadán Feasa', Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle member Bairbre de Brún called for legislation to protect the rights of Irish speakers. Ms de Brún said:

``The legislation which saw the establishment of Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (Council for Irish Medium Education) was a great step forward. However this is the only piece of domestic legislation in force that offers specific protection to Irish speakers, and only in the field of Irish medium education .  The rights of Irish speakers will only find adequate protection when we have comprehensive legislation in place here.''

Ms de Brún was speaking at the launch by Gaeloiliúint at Farset International in Belfast of a range of Irish medium further and higher education courses. Praising this groundbreaking initiative, Ms de Brún said:

``There has been tremendous growth in Irish medium education throughout the North, with 3 Irishmedium secondary schools, 25 Irish medium primary schools and 37 Irish medium nursery schools.

``The establishment of the first Irish medium secondary school, Meánscoil Feirste was a ral watershed, as was the setting up of Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta, the council for Irish Medium Education.  Now it is time for the next breakthrough, with employment on the one hand and third level education through the medium of Irish on the other.  I congratulate all those involved in the groundbreaking initiative being launched by Gaeloiliúint today.''

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