[Sinn Fein]

19 April 1998

Gaelic translation system for new assembly

Statement from Derry city Councillor and Foyle candidate Gearoid O hEara, speaking at an Irish language pres conference this morning. He called for the installation of translation facilities for Irish speakers in the new assembly.

Mr O hEara said:

``The Irish language community must enjoy parity of esteem with English speakers. The Irish language should be given offical status reflected in appropriate legislation, including the right to allow speakers to deal with all levels of government and local government administration in our own language.

Mr O hEara continued: ``To deliver parity of esteem for the Irish language, Sinn Fein proposes as a first step:

Ratification of the European Charter for Regional and Minority languages by the British government with respect to Irish.

Legislation to give official status to the Irish language along the lines of the Welsh language Act, 1967, and the Welsh language Bill, 1993.

The establishment of an Irish language Board (Bord Gaeilge) for all Ireland with adequate powers and funding to coordinate the promotion and provision of Irish medium education throughout the island.

A bi-lingual policy in every aspect of the functioning of the state in order to treat Irish on a basis of equality.

Financial support for Irish language programming and publications.

Funding for Irish cultural and sporting organisation from public bodies should be made available according to appropriate agreed criteria.

Action to ensure that Teilifis na Gaeilge can be received throughout the six counties.

We pledge to maximise the all-Ireland character of the agreement; to seek the disbandment

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