SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has welcomed progress on language legislation at Westminster.
Ms Hanna was speaking ahead of the second reading of the Identity and Language (Northern Ireland) Bill in the House of Common on Wednesday.
She paid tribute to the work of Irish speakers who have spent years developing and campaigning for the Irish language and welcomed the prospect of protections being put in place in the near future.
South Belfast MP Ms Hanna said:
“This legislation has been a long time coming and while we warmly welcome that these important protections are finally being put in place, It is disappointing that this legislation is not being progressed locally in Stormont. The provisions must be enacted promptly to build confidence and to support pluralism, parity of esteem and celebration of our shared cultural heritage.
"So much good work goes on across Northern Ireland through Irish, from schools to sports clubs and community organisations and their efforts deserve recognition.
“The SDLP has stood with language rights campaigners along this journey and we’ll keep working at Westminster to ensure we get this legislation over the line as soon as possible and that it protects the rights of Irish speakers and provides a platform to foster the continued growth and interest in the language.”