The Newry man at the head of Conradh na Gaeilge, Dr Niall Comer has said that the organisation was informed by Sinn Féin that draft talk proposals had agreed on a standalone Irish Language Act, which included official recognition of Irish, an Irish language commissioner, and the repeal of the ban on Irish in courts through the Administration of Justice (Language) Act (Ireland) 1737.

The group had met with Sinn Féin yesterday, Thursday, for update on draft talks proposals

Dr Niall Comer, President, Conradh na Gaeilge expressed their regret and disappointment that the rights of Irish speakers as well as those who are interested in the protection and the development of the language are once again being denied by the DUP.

 An Dream Dearg demonstration for Irish Language rights in Newry in 2017. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
An Dream Dearg demonstration for Irish Language rights in Newry in 2017. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

"This community was promised 10 years ago that there would be an Irish Language Act, as there is in Wales and in Scotland. A Conradh na Gaeilge delegation had stated to the Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, MP, during our meeting with her last week that it would be incumbent upon the British Government to bring in Legislation if the Assembly was not set up again. Conradh na Gaeilge is looking to meet with the Secretary of State in the coming days, as well as the Taoiseach, and we will once again make this case. The Irish Language movement is determined to achieve an Act which will benefit all in society, and these efforts will not cease until we have achieved parity of esteem."

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge, added "It’s clear from the information released today that there was an agreement between the DUP and Sinn Féin and that a standalone Irish Language Act was included in that agreement. Official status for the language, alongside an Irish language commissioner, was also included to protect the rights of the Irish language community. These provision include basic and essential elements for language legislation that are common across the world and we are dismayed that the DUP did not have the willingness to accept such basic proposals.

Mr Mac Giolla Bhéin concluded "Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the support from Sinn Féin, from the 4 other parties and from the Irish Government, for a standalone Irish language Act. There are, however, gaps remaining in the package which was revealed to us today, particularly around the visibility of the language, which we call to be included in any future Irish language Act. It is abundantly clear that there will be an Irish Language Act and we now call on the British and Irish Government to press ahead with legislation for the language, as per their promise in 2006, without delay."

Conradh na Gaeilge are now seeking meetings with the Secretary of State Karen Bradley MP, with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and with the Tánaiste Simon Coveney, in the coming days.

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