Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the remaining barriers to the full recognition of the Irish language in the European Parliament must be lifted.
Speaking after meeting officials from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Brussels, Ms Anderson said;
“The Irish language has had full official and working language status since 2007 but there has been a derogation in place since then meaning that the European institutions do not have to translate documents into Irish.
“It also means there are no Irish language interpreters available during meetings of the European Parliament.
“Not only is it a fundamental right that we should have these services available in Irish but it would also create 188 jobs.
“The Irish government have a responsibility to formally ask the EU Council of Ministers to lift this derogation and they must do so before the before the end of this year. If they don’t another opportunity will not arise until 2020.
“As MEPs, we will be working with colleagues from across Europe, particularly through the intergroup on Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages, to push for language rights for all.
“All of us need to work collectively and put pressure on the Irish government to remove this barrier to full recognition of the Irish language at the European Parliament.”