Thursday, 12 May 2011
After the Bun-fight — Who Gets the Sweeties?
The question of whether the Alliance Party will be able to build on David Ford's tenure at the Department of Justice by taking an Executive seat under the d'Hondt mechanism now appears to have been settled. Yet how many people have considered the corollary that the party will also be entitled to nominate to the cross-border bodies, one of them being An Foras Teanga?
The Alliance will now be able to send a representative either to the Ulster-Scots Agency, whose promotion of "the Ulster-Scots language" is, we suggest, in dire need of a little of its trademark confessional neutrality, or Foras na Gaeilge — having a party nominee on the latter's board would be a PR coup for the party, which will be keen to shake off the "yellow Unionist" tag.
Indeed, as the DUP has failed to make any nomination to Foras na Gaeilge in the past, the Alliance might conceivably pick up an extra board position there even if it nominates first to the Ulster-Scots Agency.
One does hope, though, that the UUP's Ian Adamson, who narrowly lost his seat on Belfast City Council, will be able to continue his work with the agency. A moderate and well-liked man with a passion for languages, Dr. Adamson was, along with Ivan Herbison, among the very first of the present crop of thinkers to suggest that Scots in Ulster — in his words "a purer form of Lallans than that spoken in Scotland itself" — deserved wider appreciation and protection.
If he goes, he will be missed.