He said: “News that the Líofa scheme has exceeded 20,000 is to be welcomed.
“When Líofa started in September 2011 the target of 1,000 was set, this was then revised as demand grew.
“The target of 20,000 for 2020 was set in 2016 and that too has been exceeded.
“This shows that there is a demand to learn Irish and that people from all backgrounds are taking up the opportunity to do so.
“The Irish language belongs to us all and it is time that an Irish Language Act was introduced so that Irish speakers and learners are afforded the same rights as citizens across these islands,” he added.