Government Politics Stormont

£330,000 Budget to Pander to 10 English-Speaking MLAs Who Might Occasionally Wish to Speak in Irish

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“Yesterday I had it confirmed by way of written answer from the Assembly Commission that just 10 MLAs have expressed a desire to on occasions use Irish during Assembly plenary and committee meetings. In light of the clamour from Sinn Fein, SDLP & Alliance, at a time of severe financial restraint, for prioritising public expenditure on Irish I am sure that I am not alone in noting the irony that just 11% of MLAs actually intend to use it at any time. Yet, the resulting translation/interpretation service is costed at £330,000. How fortunate that our schools and hospitals don’t need this money! – I wish.

“Coming after confirmation that just 0.2% of homes submitted their census forms in Irish this will compound the suspicion of many that the campaign is purely political. Many of those most vocal about demanding this squander are the very same people who repeatedly claim that there is not enough money coming from HM Treasury, yet their priority is needless squander.

“With Irish language legislation – which was agreed by the DUP as part of the New Decade, New Approach deal – making its way through Westminster, we are set to see even greater squander, particularly an all-powerful Irish Language Commissioner and staff, with the public sector, in particular, targeted for Gaelicisation.”


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