Increasing the number of Irish speakers would render case for language rights unanswerable
I agree with Gerry Adams that the rights of Irish speakers must be respected. But this should include the right to use the language without being identified with any particular political group and without political interference.
I find the picture of the president of Conradh na Gaeilge and his political allies infuriating. How loud was the politicians' protest in 2014, when more than a dozen not-for-profit Irish language organisations collapsed when Foras na Gaeilge withdrew funding?
Precedence is being given to the rights of a minority within a minority.
Let us consider one "right". At what cost and with how much effort could the judiciary find a judge, jury, witnesses, prosecution and defence lawyers plus interpreters for fluent Irish speakers and broken Irish speakers, so that a case could be heard through Irish?
An all-out effort should be made to increase the number of Irish speakers, so that the case for language rights becomes unanswerable.
Conradh na Gaeilge should concentrate on achieving this. This is why the organisation was founded. It has not achieved this fundamental aim after more than 120 years. And it won't be achieved by spending scarce resources on yet more bureaucracy.
The present campaign has alienated many nationalists, as well as unionists. And the politicians should get on with the job they were elected to do.
This does not include divisive linguistic posturing.
Show us the cost of Irish Language Act
I have long considered myself to be what I call a "secular unionist".
I am not a religious person; my unionism does not have anything to do with religious belief.
As such, I have absolutely no objection in principle to an Irish Language Act, but I suspect that, in common with an awful lot of people, I would like to understand what such an act might entail.
I assume that Sinn Fein and/or the SDLP have costed draft(s) of an Act, ready to bring forward to a new Assembly.
May I respectively ask them, in the interests of a transparent democratic process, to publish their drafts, so that all voters might have the chance to assess their content and their implications for the public purse?
Surely, this is not an unreasonable request, given that this seems to be the major issue that is preventing the re-establishment of the Assembly?
Sinn Fein determined to impede progress
Northern Ireland is enduring a situation at present where we have a health service in crisis and an education service facing enormous financial pressures.
These issues impact upon each and every one of us, irrespective of our colour or creed, and therefore should be considered as top priorities for every politician at this time.
Forgive me, therefore, if I treat Gerry Adams' ultimatum in terms of linking the future of devolution in Northern Ireland to the implementation of an Irish Language Act with the contempt that it deserves.
Republicans, for many decades, tried to break the unionist community through their grubby terror campaign.
They continue to pursue an agenda where they seek to marginalise and alienate our community through the guise of a campaign for equality, when no such inequalities exist.
The vast majority of our community within Northern Ireland is happy to remain an integral part of the United Kingdom and has a strong desire to see our country flourish.
Sinn Fein will never want Northern Ireland to succeed.
Such a scenario would serve as an obvious impediment to their sinister attempts to coerce the people of our province into a united Ireland.
Devolution in Northern Ireland should not be permitted to remain within the gift of one particular political party.
Especially when that party has no interest in promoting the best interests of Northern Ireland.
It is, therefore, clear that the time has come to firmly reject Sinn Fein's narrow, sectarian agenda and to let the rest of Northern Ireland move forward with a devolved government that can deliver a better and prosperous future for all.
CLLR DAVID TAYLOR (UUP)
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
Alliance is now a nationalist party
It was interesting to see the Alliance Party literally lining up with the SDLP and Sinn Fein and the aptly named Green Party to support the nationalist/republican-driven demand for a costly and one-sided Irish Language Act.
It has become a widespread view among unionists that Alliance is now a nationalist party.
This view was supported by events such as Anna Lo confirming last year her firm support for a united Ireland and the Alliance vote that was pivotal in removing the Union flag at City Hall.
The present unseemly line-up confirms this perspective - as does the Alliance Party not showing any concern, or respect, for Ulster-Scots language and culture.
One wonders how their vote will hold up now in unionist areas.
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