Dublin – Irish language measures will not offend anyone

Irish language measures in the new proposed deal will not offend anyone, the Dublin Government said.

The proposal entitled New Decade, New Approach includes steps to protect and develop Irish and Ulster Scots.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “We have put an enormous amount of thought into trying to bring forward solutions to very sensitive issues but also at the same time respond to legitimate demands and concerns.”

He said the Irish language did not belong to any one community or identity.

“We are trying to bring about a situation where anybody who wants to learn to speak the Irish language or Ulster Scots or neither, that no one feels pressurised.

“We have effectively put a proposal in place that I believe can work, that won’t offend anybody but at the same time will introduce legislation through amending pieces of legislation so that we amend the Northern Ireland Act to accommodate some change that will involve legislating for the Irish language.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith said while some had called for action on Irish language others were worried.

“But in here there is a good balance on dealing with that issue as there is a good balance on dealing with other issues, and I urge all people who are concerned about any of these issues to look at the whole deal tonight, to think first and foremost about people that are going on strike tomorrow, that need their schools running properly and that need this part of the United Kingdom up and running properly again.”

Irish advocacy organisation An Dream Dearg said the community had waited 14 years for action.

“We will take the next few hours to read, fully analyse and unpack tonight’s proposals.

“We’ve got work to do.”