Belfast Telegraph

Irish language act could cost £19m: Conradh na Gaeilge

But Nelson McCausland says figure is attempt to minimise actual cost to prevent argument against legislation

Irish language group Conradh na Gaeilge has claimed an Irish language act could cost £19m over five years.

The group says there would be an initial £8.5m one-off cost to establish the act and then another £2m a year to run it.

The group proposes 11 different sections as part of an act covering elements such as use of Irish in the Assembly, by local government and public bodies and in the courts.

Dr Padraig O Tiarnaigh said the intention was to make the act's introduction "as practical and workable as possible".

The BBC reports that among expenditure costs £375,000 a year would be spent on training public sector workers to speak Irish and £1.5m on bilingual road signs.

The appointment of a language commissioner has also been recommended with its offices costs in the region of between £300,000 to £400,000.

Dr O Tiarnaigh said his group has worked closely with Welsh authorities and those in the south of Ireland on implementing similar legislation and he was confident of the costs outlines.

However, he admitted that the figures quoted didn't include a recommendation for the BBC to pump £10m into Irish language programming or the cost of the introduction of the scheme in the education sector.

"This is measurable and practical," he told the BBC's Stephen Nolan.

"The time for an Irish language act is now."

Former DUP MLA Nelson McCausland, however, said he believed the costing was "simply an attempt to minimise the figure so that people will not use it as an argument against an Irish language act".

Earlier this year, he claimed the cost of implementing an act was closer to £100m a year.

He said: "They have not addressed the other issues, this is about asserting value and how we affirm other cultural identities in other areas.

"The issues around this are not only around cost, this is also about equality, discrimination and practicality."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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