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PSNI NOT 'ON MESSAGE' OVER LANGUAGE RIGHTS
The arrest and forthcoming trial of a speaker of Irish in the north of Ireland must call into question whether with the 'rebranding' of the RUC as the PSNI anything has changed in relation to police attitudes to the nationalist community. Máire Nic an Bhaird, a young woman from Belfast, experienced at
Cathal Ó Luain pour Celtic League le 8/10/06 10:33

The arrest and forthcoming trial of a speaker of Irish in the north of Ireland must call into question whether with the 'rebranding' of the RUC as the PSNI anything has changed in relation to police attitudes to the nationalist community.

Máire Nic an Bhaird, a young woman from Belfast, experienced at first hand the attitude of the PSNI whilst chatting in Irish in the street with some of her teacher friends. It is alleged that a member of the PSNI left his vehicle and insulted her, demanding that she stop speaking that 'leprechaun language' and speak the 'Queens English in her country'. When, understandably she refused and stood up for her rights she was arrested and charged with obstruction and disorderly behaviour.

The Celtic League have been asked to lend its support to her campaign for justice and a copy of a letter to this effect from Seán Ó hAdhmaill, National Chairperson of Na Gaeil Óga, is set out below (In Irish with English translation)

Subsequently, the Celtic League Secretary General, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, has written to the British government and Court which Máire will attend (see immediately below) expressing our concern.

The Celtic League is also considering representations to the Irish government highlighting the lack of commitment which the PSNI action illustrates in relation to the 'Belfast Agreement'.

The Agreement clearly sets out under the heading 'RIGHTS, SAFEGUARDS AND EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY' - "All participants recognise the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in Northern Ireland, the Irish language, Ulster-Scots and the languages of the various ethnic communities, all of which are part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland.". The section goes on to stress "the British Government will in particular in relation to the Irish language, where appropriate and where people so desire it take resolute action to promote the language facilitate and encourage the use of the language in speech and writing in public and private life where there is appropriate demand;"

Unfortunately the PSNI do not seem to be on message!

Bernard Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League

28 August 2006

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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues. TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609 (voir le site)
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