11 March 2015
By Elaine Murphy
Speaking from Strasbourg today, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada – from the Muskerry Gaeltacht on the Cork/Kerry border – gave a warm welcome to the ‘language campaign’ begun by her parliamentary colleague Seán Kelly MEP – who hails from Kerry.
Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly announced this week that he would begin a ‘language campaign’ or ‘feachtas teanga’. During the campaign Kelly will encourage his colleagues in Europe to say ‘Sláinte’ on St. Patrick’s Day instead of ‘cheers’ or ‘bon appétit’.
Liadh Ní Riada said:
“Its great that Seán Kelly has found his voice as we near the end of Seachtain na Gaeilge. He announced yesterday that he is ‘on an Irish language campaign’ for the moment, and I want to pledge him my full support.
“It surprised and worried me that Seán didn’t ask me to support him, especially seeing as I had asked him to support me when I embarked on my language strike.
“That said I understand his dilemma. On one hand he is dedicated to promoting Irish at home and in Europe. On the other, he is a member of Fine Gael and he doesn’t want to go against his party.
“It shouldn’t have to be or the other. I reiterate my call to him, now that he is on his language campaign, to stand up for our language in Europe and to join me in my strike against the derogation. One minute a month is not enough, nor is lip-service from Government. We demand full status and parity of esteem for our language.
“The Government need but write a letter to the Council of Ministers formally requesting and end to the derogation. I have set up a petition online asking Enda Kenny to do just that. Seán Kelly is more than welcome to add his name to the petition, or indeed he could just call his leader and ask him directly. “