The announcement from Gerry Adams that he secured £6m funding for Irish language broadcasting by the 'Downing Street back-door' has raised important equality concerns for unionists.
A recent survey undertaken by a Dublin media outlet concluded that less than 10% of the Irish community has any linguistic command or any interest in the Irish version of the Gaelic language.
It is alarming that this funding was reportedly procured as a clandestine side deal to prevent Sinn Fein/IRA from bringing the shutters down on the Assembly, given the supposed strong commitment of republicans to peace, prosperity and stability.
At a time when we are told that there is no funding available to maintain provincial community policing or to boost roads, health and education interests, his actions bring into question the integrity of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's priorities. It is now incumbent on our unionist Assembly members to seek a commitment from Downing Street that parallel equality funding is provided for Ulster Scots/unionist interests.
They should also insist that the Prime Minister refrain from future potentially destabilising actions that undermine public confidence in the bona fides of local democracy and not continue to pander to republican demands because of perceived threats.
CLLR Samuel Cole