Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MP has welcomed the call from the membership of NIPSA to support legislating for language rights.
Speaking at an event at the London School of Economics to mark the 50th anniversary of civil rights protests in 1968, the South Down MP said:
“I welcome that NIPSA has added its voice and support for language rights in the north of Ireland following its membership’s endorsement of a conference motion calling for introduction of an Irish Language Act and provisions to support Ulster Scots.
“The protracted delay in the implementation of an Acht Gaeilge is unacceptable. Rights delayed are rights denied.
“That position applies also to the Bill of Rights, marriage equality and other rights which are being denied citizens here in the north by the DUP.
“The north of Ireland is increasingly being defined by a rights vacuum. The repeal of the 8th amendment last week, underlines this fact. The north is now exceptional and unique among all regions across these islands, because fundamental rights provided elsewhere in Ireland, and Britain, are being blocked by the DUP.
“The consequence of the DUP anti-rights agenda is that it is not only blocking and denying citizens’ rights, but also denying democracy and preventing the restoration of our political institutions.
Mr Hazzard added:
“By passing this resolution the membership of NIPSA has shown how civic society organisations can play a significant role in promoting a rights-based society. I would urge other trade unionists and progressive civic stakeholders to follow their example.”