Northern Ireland

Belfast protest over Irish language rights

Irish language speaker protest
Image caption Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín was among those who took part in the protest

Irish language speakers are marching in Belfast on Saturday in protest over what they described as Stormont's "failure" to protect the language.

They are demanding a "rights-based Irish Language Act" in NI.

The demonstration has been organised by Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League), a voluntary organisation that campaigns for the rights of Irish speakers.

They made their way from the Falls Road in west Belfast to Custom House Square in the city centre.

In a statement, the organisers said: "The ongoing failure to protect and promote the language in the courts, in public signage and in the education sector continues to unravel the promises made in the Good Friday Agreement."

They said a recent European report examining the Northern Ireland Executive's performance had highlighted "the hostile attitude of some elected representatives" towards Irish language rights.

In January, Stormont's power-sharing executive was strongly criticised over how it promotes the language in a report published by the Council of Europe.

The executive failed to provide the Council of Europe with information on the use of both Irish and Ulster-Scots, because the Northern Ireland political parties could not agree a submission.

Campaign committee member, Caoimhe Ní Chathail, said that in addition to the legislation, they were also calling for "a properly resourced Irish medium education system" and "adequate resources for the Irish language community".

Conradh na Gaeilge said they expected about 3,000 people to take part in the demonstration when they notified the Parades Commission about the march.

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