Northern Ireland

Irish language groups call for respect at at Stormont

Image caption Two Irish language groups presented a joint letter to the Stormont parties.

Two Irish language groups have presented a joint letter to the Stormont parties calling for fair treatment and respect for the language.

They also met with a number of MLAs from Sinn Féin and the Alliance Party.

They said they wanted to outline their "disappointment and anger caused by a series of divisive and insulting comments about the language".

DUP MLA Gregory Campbell caused controversy recently after the 'curry my yoghurt' incident.

Janet Muller, from the Irish language umbrella advocacy group, POBAL and Linda Ervine from the East Belfast Irish language learners' project, Turas, said the comments "should be unacceptable anywhere, but especially in a political assembly".

"We call for the introduction of a rights-based Irish language act to defend and promote Irish, as was promised in the St Andrews Agreement," they said.

The Sinn Féin delegation who met the groups included Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, and assembly member Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.

Chris Lyttle and Trevor Lunn from the Alliance Party also met the group.

Mr Lyttle said it was "frustrating that the DUP have mocked the Irish language in such an inappropriate way and have refused to apologise despite it being clear that many people have been offended".

"We should be respectful of our linguistic diversity and allow the promotion of all our languages in a shared society," he said.

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