Northern Ireland news

Gerry Adams welcomes letter demanding Irish language act

Gerry Adams voiced disappointment that Minister for Gaeilge and the Gaeltacht Sean Kyne had not read the open letter calling for an Irish language act. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

FORMER Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is among those welcoming an open letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May demanding an Irish language act.

The letter, published in The Irish News yesterday, was signed by 200 prominent figures from civic society.

The signatories cite both the Good Friday Agreement's commitment to take "resolute action" on the Irish language and the British government's undertaking in the St Andrews Agreement to an act safeguarding and promoting the language.

Among those who put their name to the letter were singer/songwriter Damien Dempsey, trade unionist Patricia McKeown, Hillsborough campaigner Phil Scraton and Irish language advocate Linda Ervine.

The letter's publication comes ahead of a demonstration by Irish language campaigners at Stormont on Friday.

Mr Adams yesterday raised the letter in the Dáil, voicing disappointment that Minister for Gaeilge and the Gaeltacht Sean Kyne had not read it.

The Louth TD urged the minister to support the letter's call.

Mr Adams said the letter was a "significant reminder" that there was a clear public desire for previous commitments to be delivered.

SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone reiterated his party's support for an Irish language act and said the recent proposal to suspend Stormont's petition of concern was to enable the legislation to be passed.

"If that fails, the SDLP have been clear that Westminster must legislate for an Irish language act," the Mid Ulster MLA said.

"However, the most important issue right now is getting a government up and running that meets the needs for all of our people here."

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