Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin accused of alienating unionists
Sinn Fein Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has been accused of bias against the unionist community by the chair of the Stormont committee which monitors her department.
The clash came as Ms Ni Chuilin – who rejected the allegations – spelt out the Culture, Arts and Leisure Department's future plans at a question and answer session with MLAs on the committee.
DUP chair Michelle McIlveen said documentation from the Department (DCAL) gave "no recognition" of the terminology of Northern Ireland.
"Some advertisements went out over the summer and people who have contacted me from the unionist family feel that they may be excluded from applying for the positions in those advertisements because of the terminology used.
"You talk about, 'this part of Ireland,' which gives no recognition to the status of Northern Ireland.
"I find that quite difficult and so does my community," the Strangford MLA added.
Ms NI ChuilIn responded: "OK. I think that is a pity, to be honest.
"The language is not meant to exclude anyone.
"If people feel that they do not want to avail themselves of opportunities in DCAL because of a perception, that is something we will obviously have to look that.
"However, I reject that we are being exclusive."
Ms McIlveen's party colleague William Humphrey added, however: "If a document from a government department is to gain respect from my community and me, it needs to be more inclusive."
Ms McIlveen asked: "Can you give assurances that you are willing to be inclusive towards the unionist family in this document?"
Ms NI ChuilIn replied: "I have been inclusive to the unionist family, so I reject your criticism."