Government’s “shameful” failure of Irish language

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has accused the Irish Government of allowing a situation to arise where the Irish language gets more support in Europe than it does in part of Ireland.

The Ireland South MEP was speaking after a report from the Council of Europe was scathing in its criticism of the lack of progress on Irish language rights in the north.

“Protection and support for the Irish language in the form of Acht na Gaeilge was agreed at the St. Andrew’s talks,” she said.

“St. Andrew’s was an international agreement between the British and Irish governments and the parties in the north and both governments have failed utterly in their responsibility to see that it is fully enacted.

“Just last week I was the coordinator in the EU Budget Committee where one of 7 Key Priorities for the committee was the continued implementation of measures needed to introduce Irish as a full, official language in the EU.

“We may soon have a ludicrous situation where the Irish language has more rights and recognition in Brussels than Belfast.

“This is an absolute indictment of the failure of both governments to live up to their responsibilities but a particularly embarrassing exposure of the ineffectiveness of the Irish Government.

“It’s nothing short of shameful that a handful of MEPs can argue more effectively for the Irish language in Brussels than the entire Irish Government can in Ireland.

“These agreements are not diplomatic buffets that can be cherry picked from; they are the very bedrock of the peace process and they must be respected and implemented in full.”