Official Statement on Dream Dearg faoi An Lá DEARG
Thousands to be ‘Dearg le Fearg (red with Anger) in Belfast on Saturday in support of Irish language act.
There will be a historic rally from Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich to Belfast’s City hall where local speakers will demand Respect, Recognition and Rights for the Irish Language.
Irish language campaigning network, An Dream Dearg, have planned a public rally this Saturday, ‘An Lá Dearg’ to give voice to the widespread community demand for an Irish Language act in the north. The Irish language community will be represented from every corner of the country and throughout the world as thousands are expected to descend on Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich in West Belfast’s Gaeltacht Quarter at 1pm on route to a large public gathering at City Hall at 2pm.
Seventeen-year old Coláiste Feirste student and Irish medium youth work campaigner, Katy Rose Mead, stated:
“As a young person being educated through the medium of Irish, all that I ask is that those in power recognise my right to use Irish as a language of choice and to live my life through the medium of Irish. We are not demanding a special privilege from the authorities, just simply that they recognise my language rights and treat us with dignity and respect. At school, our teachers are forced to work extra hours to develop their own resources and write their own textbooks because the state won’t take proper responsibility for Irish medium education. In the Irish language youth club I volunteer in, we can only afford to open two nights a week because the state refuse to allocate us the same resources as English medium youth clubs,’
‘Our generation are saying clearly that enough is enough. We won’t tolerate being treated as an afterthought or being used as punch bag by elected politicians or government ministers. I started attending Glór na Móna’s youth club, Cumann Óige Uachtar Chluanaí, when I was 6 years old, the same year that our community was promised an Irish language act as part of the St Andrews Agreement. The time for change is long overdue and will no longer accept being made to feel invisible or treated as second class citizens in our own country. We are here to stay and our community, schools, and youth clubs are growing and flourishing every day. Our strength and resilience will there for all to see on Saturday. Seasaigí Linn.’
Spokesperson for An Dream Dearg campaigning network, Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, stated:
“There is comprehensive and widespread support for a rights-based Irish language Act and for the An Dream Dearg campaign. People will have the opportunity to express the support on Saturday in a clear, positive and unequivocal manner. All those who believe in diversity, language rights and human rights are welcome on Saturday as we demand that this state acts now and implements an Irish language act that was promised over ten years ago in the St Andrews Agreement.
‘There is no doubt that the Irish language is now at the very centre of the current political crisis in the north and An Dream Dearg are stating clearly that no political institutions or future political arrangement are tenable in the absence of a rights based Irish language act. Extensive public support for an Irish language act has been endorsed by the overwhelming majority across the community in successive public consultations; a clear majority of newly elected MLA’s in the assembly support our demand, as does the United Nations and the Council of Europe. The time to act is now. We will deliver a very clear message on Saturday; the time to act is now, Acht Anois.’