11 June 1998
Date needed for Irish inclusion in Euro Chapter
Sinn Fein senior negotiator Bairbre de Brun this morning said that Sinn Fein was anxious for the British government ``to set a date now on which the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages will be signed specifying Welsh, Irish and Gaelic in Scotland at the same time''.
Ms de Brun said:
``We argued consistently for the ratification of the Charter during the negotiations, which ended on 10 April, and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams wrote to the British government on 20 May and again last Monday, 8 June on the issue.
``The Irish language has suffered for many years from the policies of successive British governments, which ranged from outright hostility to, at best, neglect. The European Charter provides guidelines, objectives, commitments and monitoring measures to begin to redress this.
``While including Irish for Part Two would only signify a continuation of present policies, specifying Irish for Part Three of the Charter would signal the substantially new approach heralded in the Good Friday document.
``The British government should be able to set a date now on which the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages will be signed specifying Welsh, Irish and Gaelic in Scotland at the same time.
``It is important that we don't simply see a positive gloss put on continued discrimination, but that we see real steps to give the Irish community the rights they deserve.
``The British government must now act in the spirit of the times, take the necessary steps to ratify the Charter in respect of Irish and move beyond words to promote the language.''
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