Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein no comment if affirmative action for Irish speakers among talks demands

By Jonathan Bell

Sinn Fein has not commented on if affirmative action for Irish speakers in civil service recruitment remains among its demands for inclusion in an Irish language act.

The party has consistently said it will not return to government unless there is an Irish language act.

It has said that the draft consultation for an act, set out by the then Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin in 2015, "was the basis" for its proposals in the ongoing talks process.

However, last week there was confusion over the matter.

The BBC reported affirmative action had been dropped. The broadcaster later reported that the republican party had not in fact dropped the demand, but rather it was not requiring a 10% quota of Irish speakers for civil service recruitment - something that was not contained in the proposed draft act.

Read full Irish language act draft proposal

Asked if the party could clarify the situation, Sinn Fein again stated that the draft act was "the basis for discussion".

It directed us to a blog written by Mairtin O Muilleor in which he repeated that any claim the party was demanding 10% of civil service new recruits be Irish speakers was "bunkum".

Asked if affirmative action was therefore still among its demands, the party has yet to respond.

On tendering his resignation Martin McGuinness cited unfulfilled promises during the previous decade of power-sharing including the pledge to bring about an Irish language act and legacy issues.

Also demanded was the requirement Arlene Foster step aside during the RHI inquiry.

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