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Teach Irish language to all schoolchildren

Sinn Fein are proposing an Irish Language Act as a ploy to make Irish an official language of Northern Ireland and thus dilute the constitutional Britishness of the Northern Irish statelet and move it closer to the Sinn Fein dream of a socialist united Ireland Republic.

As a federalist - not a nationalist or unionist - I can propose an alternative Irish Language Act which will make the Irish language an official language in the school curriculum in all schools in the statelet of Northern Ireland.

Federalism proposes that the Act declares that all pupils in schools in Northern Ireland begin learning the language at the age of eight and continue doing so until the age of 14.

Those pupils who have not developed a good feeling for the language by 14 can opt out of further study.

Those pupils who have developed a good feeling for the language should be encouraged to follow the language to GCSE and A-level, and to degree level if so inclined.

If the act were to treat the language in that way, the language would become cultural, educational and apolitical, as it was envisaged by Douglas Hyde, but made political by republicans.

I hope that this proposal for an alternative Irish Language Act will find favour with our politicians and help hasten their return to Stormont.

Ireland and Northern Ireland needs them there.

Michael Gillespie

Derry

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