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Minister once again fails to bring language strategy forward.

30 June, 2010 - by Barry McElduff


Sinn Féin MLA, Barry McElduff, who is also the Chair of the Culture, Arts and Leisure committee has slammed the Culture Minister, Nelson McCausland, for devising ‘a charter to do nothing’ in relation to the Irish language. This follows a three year period of total inaction with regard to developing a language strategy.


Speaking earlier Mr McElduff said:


“The Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Nelson McCausland, will be appearing before the Committee tomorrow morning (10am). It is clear from papers submitted to committee members ahead of the meeting that he is still not yet at the point of bringing forward the long awaited language strategy.


“The Minister is in violation of the the Good Friday Agreement, the St Andrews agreement and the recent Hillsborough agreement.


“This is wholly unacceptable. Two departmental consultations were held. Both overwhelming endorsed the need for Irish Language Act. Despite this successive DUP Ministers have ignored the findings and stated that they would bring forward a language strategy instead. This has still, in 2010, not appeared.


“One of the main stumbling blocks that Minister McCausland has produced is the notion of parity between Ulster Scots and the Irish languages. This is a nonsense and has been challenged by international language experts.


“The Irish language and Ulster Scots are at significantly differing levels of development. This is recognised in the EU Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and the European Committee for Experts on languages (COMEX) have stated just this, and that “language measures specifically directed towards each language are needed.”.


“So if Nelson McCausland thinks he can adopt a charter to do nothing until he further indulges his ideologically-driven and baseless notion of parity he is sorely mistaken. The time to bring forward a language strategy is now. There can be no further excuses and no further delays.”

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