Northern Ireland: McKeegan welcomes SDLP u-turn on Irish Language policy

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri May 12 11:57:21 UTC 2006

McKeegan welcomes SDLP u-turn on Irish Language policy

Glens Sinn Fin Councillor Marie McKeegan has welcomed recent comments from
the SDLP regarding the promotion of the Irish language in the area.

Cllr McKeegan said:

A lot of local people who were looking forward to having the opportunity
to promote Gaelic in the area were disappointed to say the least when the
SDLP sided with Unionist Councillors to stop the consultation process
regarding bi-lingual signage.  Their Council Group may have had genuine
concerns in regard to this but the time which these issues should have
been raised was last October when the policy was rubber-stamped, not now.

They have now taken account of the fact that there is widespread public
support for the promotion of Irish and this has to be very much welcomed.
What is not to be welcomed however are the arrogant comments from Cllr
Black saying that local Sinn Fin members do not have a working knowledge
of Gaelic and by her rationale shouldnt be promoting it in the way we have
over the past year. The fact is that you dont have to be fluent in Gaelic
to promote it and those who have their cpla focail are every bit as
entitled to promote the language as Gaelgeori. There are many people
learning Irish who are highly involved in promoting the language in
gaelscoileanna and so on, and to say that people with a beginner level of
Irish are less entitled to be involved in promoting it is absolutely
disgraceful. The promotion of the Irish language must be inclusive, not

The fact is that even though the SDLP said that their protestation was to
do with budgeting, they have just wasted ratepayers money on Council
solicitors drawing up legal advice and have now come back and given the
go-ahead for the policy, which could have been done without fuss in the
first place. We in Sinn Fin remain committed to promoting the Irish
language, something that was once very strong in this area, and we hope
that this can be done in an inclusive way and I look forward to working
along with the SDLP and others in doing this.

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