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‘We are nearly there’: Demonstration at Stormont as Irish language act moves closer

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Irish Language activists at Stormont’s Parliament Buildings to mark the long-promised Irish language and Ulster Scots legislation be introduced at Westminster on Wednesday (Presseye).

Irish Language activists at Stormont’s Parliament Buildings to mark the long-promised Irish language and Ulster Scots legislation be introduced at Westminster on Wednesday (Presseye).

Irish language demonstrators at Stormont on Wednesday: (Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

Irish language demonstrators at Stormont on Wednesday: (Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

Irish language demonstrators at Stormont on Wednesday: (Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

Irish language demonstrators at Stormont on Wednesday: (Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

Irish language demonstrators at Stormont on Wednesday: (Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

Irish language demonstrators at Stormont on Wednesday: (Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

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Irish Language activists at Stormont’s Parliament Buildings to mark the long-promised Irish language and Ulster Scots legislation be introduced at Westminster on Wednesday (Presseye).

Irish language activists staged a colourful demonstration at Stormont on Wednesday ahead of new legislation being introduced.

Long-awaited Irish language and Ulster Scots legislation is expected to be announced in Westminster by the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis.

As part of the New Decade, New Approach agreement, the Identity and Language (Northern Ireland) Bill will include official status for the Irish language and a new commissioner.

Funding of around £4m will also be provided by the UK Government for an Irish language investment fund, with Ulster Scots also provided recognition as a national minority language.

Speaking at the Stormont demonstration, An Dream Dearg spokesperson Conchúr Ó Muadaigh said: “On Saturday almost 20,000 attended the largest Irish language rally in our history. We told them then that we would win our campaign, and we are nearly there.

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"We will have an Irish language act. That legislation will, however, fall short of the commitments given to us at St Andrew’s, especially when tested against the Welsh model.”

He added: “It remains, however, an historic advancement in our campaign for language rights and we welcome it as a significant staging post on our journey for equality here.”

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Irish language demonstrators at Stormont on Wednesday: (Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

Irish language demonstrators at Stormont on Wednesday: (Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

Irish language demonstrators at Stormont on Wednesday: (Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

He said the UK government would be aware the legislation would rely on political will for it to function effectively.

“Given the DUP has reneged from their New Decade New Approach commitments to deliver this legislation, coupled with the fact that we have no First or Deputy First Ministers to press ahead with implementing the functions of the legislation, the British Government must immediately act to appoint a Commissioner who can develop the best practice standards,” he said. 

"That is now the immediate litmus test for the British Government. Having legislation is one thing, acting on it is the real test. Without that immediate action this legislation won’t be worth the paper it is written on.”

After the Irish language revival has been “flourishing” for many decades through community efforts, he said it was now time for the state to play its part. 


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