Tuesday, 2 February 2010

A Bum Deal?

The Guardian reports that the deal on the devolution of policing and justice currently being debated inside the DUP "will see changes to the way contentious loyalist parades are handled in Northern Ireland and a commitment to give more resources to the Irish language".

Rather than a language Act, it seems that Irish will get a language strategy.

Yet Barry McElduff, Sinn Féin Chairman of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, expressed his frustration two months ago at the fact that the DUP Minister, Nelson McCausland, had failed to produce language strategies. The truth is that the DUP had already agreed to them.

As for the increased resources going to the language, we shall have to wait and see, but it could be the case that "more resources" will mean only that the reductions in the budget for Irish made under the three DUP Ministers for Culture, Arts and Leisure are reversed — in whole, or perhaps only in part.

If that is the case, Irish could still be worse off than it was under the UUP — and a good deal worse off than it would be under direct rule Ministers, who, in line with the experience of Wales and Scotland, would by now probably have granted a language Act and greatly increased resources for broadcasting.

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