In mid-July I received the report of the implementation group for an Ulster-Scots academy.
This group was set up by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, with funding of £12m of taxpayers' money and, famously, did not include any Catholics or fluent speakers of the Ulster Scots dialect.
The report is a thick tome (about an inch of foolscap) of repetitive tedium in standard English, with no page numbers, but I have extracted the following recommendations:
> The academy would be controlled by a board, 85% of whose members would be nominated by the Ulster-Scots political movement.
They would have the legal right to decide what constitutes Ulster-Scots.
> Teachers would have to subscribe to a belief in Ulster-Scots as a language, separate from English.
> The academy would be modelled on the Belfast Bible College.
> Bible 'translation' would constitute a major part of the academy's remit.
However, there is no mention of where the scholars of Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin will be found.
Presumably the Ulster-Scots can be invented.
The consultation process was launched with a distinct lack of publicity in July, and the closing date for submissions is September 24.
This includes the holiday months and is far too short a period to prepare a response to such a bulky document, which has been two years in gestation.
The implementation group themselves are in control of the consultation process, effectively being judge and jury in their own cause.
Brian MacLochlainn, Glenarm