Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Obstacles and Innovation

The BBC reports that Caitríona Ruane has earmarked an extra £2 million for Irish-language schools in the North. The news will serve to confirm a) that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure is becoming increasingly less important when it comes to funding the language and thus regarding Irish-language policy as a whole and b) that control of a single Department is of limited use if the intention is to prevent funds getting to Irish-language projects entirely. Indeed, any DUP "successes" in that regard seem only to encourage pragmatic interventions from Westminster.

Interestingly, the report states that "The schools cannot get capital funds direct from the department as they have not reached a target number of pupils." Instead, they will benefit in the form of grants administered by Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta.

In future, we may see increasingly innovative approaches to circumventing the DUP veto. Indeed, it may only be a matter of time until those Departments with Nationalist Ministers, or perhaps only Sinn Féin ones, produce a corporate attempt to making the provisions of an Irish language Act a reality, even when the Act itself is still far away.

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