SDLP members today reiterated their support for the Irish Language and an Irish Language Act after voting for a motion that supports the establishment of a rights-based Irish Language Act, which would include the establishment of the Office of an Independent Irish Language Commissioner. The motion was proposed by Mid Ulster MLA, Patsy McGlone, and seconded by his colleague Councillor Martin Kearney.
Patsy McGlone MLA said, “Today, Conference passed a motion which reiterates the SDLP’s support for the establishment of a rights based Irish Language Act which recognises the cultural and social importance of the language.
“This includes support for the establishment of the Office of an Independent Irish Language Commissioner which would have a comprehensive range of powers to ensure official recognition of the Irish Language in Government Departments, public bodies and in public life. This would see a fully independent Commissioner who would be active in their role of protection and development of the Irish Language.
“This is an issue that the SDLP has been working on. Even before the collapse of the institutions, I was preparing legislative proposals to protect, promote and enhance the rights of Irish speakers. For far too long, Irish language speakers have been kicked, insulted and diminished by some politicians. This cannot continue.
“The Irish Language should not be a political issue, it should not be a weapon or leverage against other communities. An Irish Language Act threatens no one and no tradition. It is clear that the only way to protect the language and those who cherish it, is through legislation.
“Ní le páirtí amháin, ná dream ná pobal amháin an Ghaeilge. Is linne uilig í an Ghaeilge le cur lenár noidhreacht, agus lán chomh tábhachtach, cur lenár dtuiscint – is leis an tuiscint ar a chéile atá ár todhchaí – le chéile.”