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Date Posted: Sun, Apr 01 2007, 20:41:48 PDT
Author: iapl_newsroom32@hotmail.com
Subject: Answer to McG's new buddy-Leading Bigot Paisley
In reply to: iapl_newsroom32@hotmail.com 's message, "Marty & Anti-Gaelic language buddy Ian say "Hain Out!" on Sun, Apr 01 2007, 20:25:38 PDT

iapl_newsroom32@hotmail.com Printed: Sunday, April 1, 2007 7:37 PM

More speak Irish in the North than speak Chinese

Andersonstown News
By Ciarán Barnes

The unionist myth that more people in the North of Ireland speak Chinese than Irish has been shattered in the House of Lords.

Statistics released at Westminster last week clearly show that the North's Irish speaking population is eight times that of the Chinese speaking population.

Responding to a parliamentary question by Ulster Unionist peer John Taylor, Labour peer John Rooker revealed there are just 8,000 Chinese speakers in the North.
This compares to the 75,000 people who, in the 2001 census, said they "speak, read, write and understand Irish", and the 167,000 people who said they "had some knowledge of Irish".

Janet Muller, Chief Executive of the Irish language umbrella group Pobal, said the statistics are another reason why Irish language legislation should be passed through Westminster.

"All languages deserve respect, and all language communities should have access to services," she said.

"The circumstances of the Irish language are unique however because it is an indigenous language with a large community of speakers, a 2000 year history and a body of literature."

Confirmation of the Irish/Chinese speaking ratios come at a key time for the future of the Irish language in the North.

If the Assembly reconvenes on May 8 one of its first big decisions will be whether to implement an Irish Language Act.

Under proposals by the Department of Culture the language would be given a recognised status.

The Department has proposed the appointment of an Irish language Commissioner and the establishment of language schemes for public bodies.

It is also being suggested that Irish could be used in court proceedings and official documents could be printed in the language.

Nationalists have long campaigned for the legislation along with Irish speakers.
However, unionists have vowed to oppose it in any form.

The DUP's Nelson McCausland has questioned the wisdom of spending more cash on implementing an Irish Language Act when the British government already spends £18 million annually on Irish.

He also described proposals contained in the act as "heavy handed".

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