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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Court protest at teacher hearing
Irish language protesters
Irish language activists protested outside the court
Irish language activists have held a protest outside a Belfast court in support of an Irish language teacher.

Maire Nic An Bhaird, 24, from Woodside Walk, Dunmurry, is denying disorderly behaviour.

Her defence team have applied to have all court proceedings in Irish. The case was adjourned at Belfast Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brun, who taught the defendant Irish, was among the protesters.

Defence solicitor Michael Crawford told the court his client was a native Irish speaker and her whole environment was Irish.

He said that as all legal consultations had been conducted in Irish he had written to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) asking that all the papers in the case should be in Irish.

Resident Magistrate Fiona Bagnall gave the defence three weeks to make written submissions in support of the application to have the papers translated into Irish and the Crown a further three weeks to respond.

Ms Nic An Bhaird was remanded on continuing bail.

Speaking outside the court Ms de Brun said that her former pupil should be able to use the Irish language in the court proceedings.

"Considering the European Charter, considering the Good Friday Agreement and considering the Criminal Justice Review she should now be able to get her papers from the prosecution service in the Irish language," she said.

"She should be able to use Irish in the proceedings and that is what we want."

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