[Sinn Fein]

27 August 1996

Sinn Fein welcomes historic council support for Irish

Sinn Fein councillor Tom Hartley has welcomed the historic decision of today's Arts and Tourism Sub-Committee at City Hall to send delegates to the annual Local Government and Irish Language conference in Gweedore, Co. Donegal, next month.

He said:

``This will be the first time the Council has attended this prestigious event and our presence will effectively torpedo the unionists' ban on the Irish language in Belfast City Hall. This minute doesn't go to full Council for ratification until October - it is to be hoped therefore that the backwoodsmen in the Council won't try and block the visit in the meantime.

``It is my hope that Belfast City Council attendance at this conference marks the beginning of a more tolerant attitude towards the nationalist tradition in Belfast.''

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