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The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has expressed concerns regarding the appointment of Donegal Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh as Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs.

USI has continually campaigned for the Rights of Irish Speakers, and our members on Irish Language issues.

USI Vice President for the Irish Language, Feidhlim Seoighe said:

“It would stand to reason that the Junior Minister with the remit of Gaeltacht Affairs would ideally have a significant grasp of the Language.  USI has been somewhat critical of Government decisions regarding Irish Language issues. Our members supported the resignation of An Comisinéir Teanga in November last year, over inaction by the Government to enact Irish Language Legislation.
In 2011, USI protested over the proposed policy of axing of Irish as a core subject in the Leaving Certificate.

I look forward to meeting with the minister to address several issues of importance to our membership:

• Provision of core State services be provide for Irish Speakers in Irish
• Grants for Student etchers to attend courses in Gaeltacht regions
• Ending the derogation of the Status of the Irish Language at European Level”

USI President, Laura Harmon added:

“The USI has always been heavily involved in the campaign to promote the rights of Irish speakers. This appointment is yet another blow, not only to Gaeltacht areas, but Irish language speakers as a whole.”

The Union of Students in Ireland will be participating in the protest, beginning organised by Conradh na Gaeilge, which is to take place held outside the Department of the Taoiseach this afternoon (Wednesday 16th July) at 13.15.

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