Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has renewed his call for legislation to protect the rights of Irish speakers.
Speaking after former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass called for the Irish language to be afforded official status in the North, the Foyle MLA said;
“The Irish language is an integral part of our culture and continues to grow in popularity throughout the island.
“I hope others will listen to his remarks and support our call for Acht na Gaeilge to be implemented to formally protect the rights of Irish speakers and promote the language.
“In the St Andrew’s Agreement in 2006, the British government committed itself to an Irish Language Act but it has been opposed by unionists since then.
“The Irish language threatens no one and this legislation should be brought forward as soon as possible.
“Enacting this legislation would not only be of huge cultural importance but would also create employment for the Irish language community.
“Legislation would benefit the lives of the thousands of people who use Irish every day and would allow them to use Irish on official forms and court proceedings.
“Dr Haass’ remarks that Irish identity should be respected are also welcome, particularly following recent incidents where the PSNI have seized hurls from young people.”