Hundreds of gaeilgeoirí to assemble at Guildhall for Irish language march

Two Irish language act supporters (dressed as crocodiles; a reference to Arlene Foster likening Sinn Fein to one of the creatures).
Two Irish language act supporters (dressed as crocodiles; a reference to Arlene Foster likening Sinn Fein to one of the creatures).

Hundreds of gaeilgeoirí are expected to march from Derry’s Guildhall to Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin on Saturday as part of an ongoing campaign for the enactment of an Irish Language Act.

The rally, which is scheduled to commence at noon on February 18, will coincide with a twin protest scheduled for Newry at the same time.

Hundreds of university students, gaelscoileanna pupils, parents and staff, GAA club members and Comhaltas and Conradh na Gaeilge members are expected to join in the demonstration.

Nollaig Mac Giolla Thuile from the Irish language society at Magee, which has organised the march, said Irish speakers are fed up with the language being denied full legal status.

“At present the Irish language is treated like a foreign language with the same recognition as Polish and Lithuanian, for example,” he told the ‘Journal’.

“We believe that this is completely discriminant as this is the native language of this whole Island and deserves to be treated with the utmost respect.

“We seek an Irish Language Act that would protect the Irish Language in the six counties as an official language that can be used to debate in parliament, be spoken in court, and one that is supported by schemes and bursaries such as the Líofa scheme,” he said.

Mr. Mac Giolla Thuile said he believes Saturday’s march will demonstrate the depth of feeling that exists among Irish speakers regarding the treatment of the language.

“The Irish community will unite together to achieve the protection that our native language needs and deserves.

“At present we feel that we are being treated unfairly to other citizens as the Irish language is being suppressed rather than encouraged in the six counties and we will be demonstrating on Saturday to show our opposition to this culture,” he said.