Political news

DUP to meet Irish language group Conradh na Gaeilge on Thursday

DUP leader Arlene Foster is set to meet Conradh na Gaeilge on Thursday. Picture by Mal McCann
John Monaghan

THE DUP is set to meet with Conradh na Gaeilge tomorrow, as the party begins consultations with Irish language groups.

A delegation from Conradh na Gaeilge (the Gaelic League), based on the Falls Road in west Belfast, is to speak with a DUP team including leader Arlene Foster.

Before Easter the former first minister revealed her intention to meet with Irish speakers "over the next short period of time" to "respect and better understand" the language and culture.

Mrs Foster, who said during the assembly election campaign that she would not agree to an Irish language act - a key demand of Sinn Féin - is also expected to meet another group, Pobal, this week.

It is unclear if the DUP delegation will meet Irish language groups collectively or separately.

Conradh na Gaeilge, set up in 1893 by Co Roscommon Protestant Douglas Hyde and which seeks to promote Irish across Ireland, said it had not yet received confirmation about the venue and time of the meeting, but it is understood that Stormont will be the location.

It said it had met with the leaders of five parties in the past three weeks and had also contacted the Ulster Unionists to seek a meeting with new leader Robin Swann.

Pobal director Janet Muller confirmed that a meeting with it was also arranged but was remaining tightlipped about the day and the venue.

Linda Ervine, who is the Irish language officer at the East Belfast Mission, said there were no plans in place for her group to meet the DUP, but they were "thinking about making a formal invitation".

A spokeswoman for the DUP confirmed that meetings had been arranged for later this week.

She said: "DUP party leader Arlene Foster has been arranging meetings with Irish language groups and hopes to have engagement with them in the near future. The purpose will be to listen to the views of those who speak the language."

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