Sinn Féin Councillor Cathal McLaughlin has welcomed Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín’s announcement that a consultation on a draft Irish Language Act will be launched next month.
The Ballymoney Councillor said: “I welcome the fact that Carál Ní Chuilín has now announced a consultation on a draft Acht na Gaeilge.
“An Irish language act is a key outstanding commitment of the St Andrew’s Agreement.
“Irish speakers will welcome the long-awaited progress on this important issue.
“The rights of Irish speakers need to be afforded official protection in legislation.
“This consultation will also show those who have been opposed to Acht na Gaeilge in the past that the Irish language belongs to all our people and threatens no one.
“It will give everyone the opportunity to see just what an Irish language act contains and debunk any myths which have surrounded over recent times.
“Gaelic speakers in Scotland, Wales and in the rest of this island are already afforded the protection of language acts.
“We are looking for the same protection and rights for Irish speakers in the North of Ireland.
“I look forward to the consultation process and encourage everyone with an interest in the Irish language to have their say.”