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Irish was for once for us all and can be again

I firmly believe the Press statement released from Linda Irvine totally reaffirms that there is nothing to fear from any section of the community regarding an Irish Language Act.

In whatever form an Irish Language Act is hopefully agreed by the political parties at Stormont, people should also remember that historically the Irish language was shared by people of many religious faiths - Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter - across pre-partition Ireland.

The Irish language in the proper context belongs to anyone who uses it for the right reasons.

Remove politics from the debate regarding the Irish language and then perhaps we as a mature and collective society can begin to move forward in the confidence that Irish is genuinely embraced by all sections of the community, irrespective of their political, religious or other identities.

I believe Arlene Foster is making a magnanimous gesture by now listening to non-political groups regarding the Irish language.

This is only my personal opinion as someone who speaks a little Irish, but who believes that my friends who are fluent Irish speakers can have the language fully respected and embraced through the provisions of an Irish Language Act.

Patrick Clarke

Castlewellan

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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