SDLP Irish Language Spokesperson Patsy McGlone has welcomed the progress of Irish language legislation at Westminster.
The legislation, which also includes protections for Ulster Scots, has passed through the House of Lords.
Mr McGlone paid tribute to the work of Irish language campaigners and said the progress marked an important step on securing long overdue language rights.
Mid Ulster MLA Mr McGlone said:
“The passage of this legislation through the House of Lords marks an important step in the decades long struggle for Irish language rights in the North. That we are getting ever closer to seeing these hard-won rights introduced is testament to the work of campaigners who have worked tirelessly to advance this cause in the face of significant opposition.
“Agreement on language issues was finally reached as part of New Decade, New Approach and it’s deeply regrettable that these rights have to be legislated for at Westminster rather than here in the North. The Irish language is not a threat to anybody, it is enjoyed by people on this island from all walks of life and this legislation will allow the language to continue to thrive and grow for generations to come.
“I also welcome the Ulster Scots protections contained within this legislation and hope unionist politicians will respond to it in the same spirit of good faith. I look forward to seeing this legislation pass through the House of Commons and the introduction of Irish language rights for everyone in the North. Regardless of any disarray in the British government these rights have been delayed for long enough and there can be no more dragging of the heels or obstruction.
"Ar aghaidh linn le hAcht Gaeilge a chur i bhfeidhm gan mhoill. Let’s get on with implementing Acht Gaeilge without delay."