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DUP: Publishing Irish act is a waste

By Noel McAdam

The DUP has branded Sinn Fein plans to push ahead with its long-delayed Irish language act as a "futile waste of money".

The two main Assembly parties are back at loggerheads over the long-delayed legislation less than a month after the Stormont House Agreement.

It comes after the major row when the DUP's Gregory Campbell lampooned the Irish language with his "curry my yoghurt, can coca coalyer" remarks in the Assembly.

Sinn Fein Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin announced the legislation was to appear next month for pubic consultation.

Ms Ni Chuilin said she would publish the act in early February "so that people can make their own minds up".

Former DUP minister Nelson McCausland called the consultation "a futile waste of money to distract from Sinn Fein's failure".

"At a time when there are many pressing issues and challenges facing her department, the Culture Minister has announced that she intends to waste time, money and effort consulting on something she knows will not happen," he said.

The issue of legislation underpinning the Irish language, which dates back to the St Andrews Agreement of 2006, was on Sinn Fein's list in the recent negotiations which lead to the Stormont House Agreement.

Unionists pointed out it did not form part of the final document and the Act was likely to be blocked at the Executive and in the Assembly.

Ms Ni Chuilin also said she planned to bring forward a strategy for Ulster Scots by the end of this month. Sinn Fein's Irish language spokeswoman Rosie McCorley said: "Irish speakers will welcome the long-awaited progress on this important issue."

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