British government to legislate for Acht na Gaeilge / Irish Language Act in October - Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the British government has agreed to legislate for Acht Gaeilge.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 8:37 am

The breakthrough on the long-awaited Irish Language Act is expected to pave the way for nomination of First & Deputy First Ministers after Arlene Foster vacated her post.

It is expected Paul Givan from the DUP will now replace Mrs Foster and take up the joint office with Michelle O’Neill.

Speaking in Belfast late last night Sinn Fein Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald said: “Tonight the British government has agreed to legislate for Acht na Gaeilge and the cultural package at Westminster. This will happen in October with Commissioners appointed by March 2022.

Local politicians and representatives from various Irish language groups pictured during the protest at An Culturlann several years ago. DER3118-134KM
Local politicians and representatives from various Irish language groups pictured during the protest at An Culturlann several years ago. DER3118-134KM

“We told the British government that this is the only viable option to deliver these rights as the DUP were unwilling and incapable of delivering on their commitments. It is deeply regrettable that the DUP chose to block rights in this way for so long. Tonight we have broken through all of that.

“Irish speakers have been waiting for fifteen years for basic rights and recognition to be delivered. This is important for Irish language speakers and for wider society because power sharing is based on inclusion, respect and equality.

“There is an important responsibility on the Irish and British government to ensure no further delay.

“On this basis of what has been agreed I am happy to confirm that Sinn Féin will nominate Michelle O’Neill as Deputy First Minister and will participate fully in the five party executive.

“We have a huge amount of work ahead of us as we come out of Covid and as we continue to rebuild the economy, get people back to work and tackle hospital waiting lists.”