Belfast City Hall turned red today in support of the An Dream Dearg campaign for an Irish Language Act and language rights here. A motion passed through Belfast City Council late in 2018, following the passing of a motion supporting an Irish Language Act in March, also 2018. The motions were supported and voted through by a range of parties, including Alliance, Green Party, PBP, SDLP, Sinn Féin. The lighting of City Hall red is to mark 2 years since the beginning of the grassroots An Dream Dearg campaign for rights, respect and recognition for the Irish Language Community. The first public protest took place in Belfast City centre on 12 January 2017 in response to the Líofa cuts by the DUP.
Belfast City Council website lists the illumination of City Hall today as: “A special illuminate in red, Human Rights colour, to mark the anniversary of the first public protest in support of the Irish Language Act Organised by An Dream Dearg”.
The Irish language community and political representatives came together outside City Hall today to once again call for Irish Language rights through the implementation of an Irish Language Act.
Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Spokesperson for the An Dream Dearg community campaign, said outside Belfast City Hall earlier today:
“Two years ago on this date An Dream Dearg began organising. On that day we were opposing the shameful Líofa cuts made by DUP in the mouth of Christmas 2016. This inspired a new grassroots campaign for Irish language rights here, calling for respect, recognition and rights, through the introduction of the Irish Language Act promised to us in 2006. Two years on and we are still calling for those rights, for that respect and to be officially recognised in law by this state. Today we say loud and clear that we will continue to do so until our rights are delivered. Those same rights are afforded to our counterparts across these islands and across the world.”
“Belfast City Council today shines red as a beacon of equality for our community. This visible demonstration of support for our campaign will galvanise us, just as the support from the Irish Government, the United Nations and the Council of Europe has done in the past. The days of the Irish language community being invisible and marginalised are over. We call on all parties to continue to stand with us as we seek to ensure equality for Irish speakers.”