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Irish lessons for Northern Ireland civil servants defended

Published 19/02/2010

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane has confirmed Irish classes are to be run for staff within her department.

Ms Ruane yesterday defended her party colleague, Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy, for running the lunch-time classes within his department.

Mr Murphy was criticised from some quarters yesterday after it emerged the Irish language classes were being funded from the public purse.

Speaking while attending the rubber-stamping of a pioneering education campus in Londonderry, Ms Ruane said: “I am passionate about the Irish language. It is the native language of Ireland, it is for everybody and it threatens no-one.

“Let’s not pretend it is only people from the Catholic community who learn this language.

“We will be doing classes in the Department for Education as well.

“If people want to learn the Irish language it should be facilitated.”

The minister also claimed it was right that public money should be used to pay for the Irish language classes.

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From Belfast Telegraph