‘Disparity’ in North between Gaeilge and Ulster Scots - DUP

DUP MLA asks why initiative to encourage speaking Irish not repeated for Ulster Scots

Stormont’s Minister for Culture Carál Ní Chuilín said: “I resent the accusation that I have pet projects, and it is regrettable that the member [DUP MLA William Humphrey] continues to use and abuse the Irish language in the chamber.” File photograph: Steven McCaffery/PA Wire

Stormont’s Minister for Culture Carál Ní Chuilín said: “I resent the accusation that I have pet projects, and it is regrettable that the member [DUP MLA William Humphrey] continues to use and abuse the Irish language in the chamber.” File photograph: Steven McCaffery/PA Wire

 

Stormont’s Minister for Culture has been challenged over an alleged “disparity” between treatment of the Irish language and Ulster Scots.

DUP Assembly member William Humphrey asked why Carál Ní Chuilín’s Liofa initiative to encourage more people to speak Irish, an Ghaeilge, had not been repeated for the Ulster Scots sector.

The North Belfast MLA said the level of departmental funding allocated to the respective languages’ promotional bodies - Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster Scots Agency - favoured Irish by a ratio of 8:1.

Mr Humphrey made the claims in response to an Assembly statement by Sinn Féin’s Ms Ní Chuilín on the latest meeting of the Language Body of the North/South Ministerial Council’s (NSMC).

“A disparity exists between Ulster Scots and the Irish language - a disparity in funding for the agency and Forás na Gaeilge of 8:1, and the Minister’s pet project Liofa has made a £1.1 million [€1.5 million] investment in the Irish language,” said the DUP representative.

“What is significant in the statement is what is not in it. Where is the work that is supposed to be going on for the equivalent of a Liofa for Ulster Scots? Where is the parity and equality that was promised for Ulster Scots?”

Claims rejected

The Minister rejected Mr Humphrey’s claims.

“I resent the accusation that I have pet projects, and it is regrettable that the member continues to use and abuse the Irish language in the chamber,” she said.

“As he knows, the Liofa programme is not part of the NSMC statement. Maybe he just did not bother reading it before he came in - that would not surprise me.

“I have asked the ministerial advisory group on Ulster Scots for a similar type of programme and believe that one will come forward in the new year.

“I ask the member to use his influence, particularly with the agency over the next period of months, to try to support and help it to provide a better delivery of product for the Ulster Scots culture and heritage.

“I do not believe that it would want to be part of any commentary that he has made about pet projects. That is not where it is coming from, and he really needs to take a leaf from its book.”

Press Association