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Irish language strategy costs not excessive

I would like to respond to the article which appeared in the Belfast Telegraph (News, November 17) about the expansion of the Irish language strategy for the Newry, Mourne and Down Council district and the cost.

All public spending should be subject to scrutiny, but to simplistically and continually focus on the tiny costs associated with promoting the Irish language is, at best, misguided and, at worst, vindictive.

To put it in context, the previous councils spent a combined £127,766 on the Irish language during 2014/15. This represented around 0.34% of their entire budget - hardly excessive.

I will give those, including Councillor William Walker, who complain about the money spent on Irish, the benefit of the doubt and assume that they don't realise the repressive effect on the Irish language of not providing public services through the language.

I don't believe Irish should be forced on people if they don't want it. But I also equally believe that English should not be forced on people who choose to speak and use Irish daily.

I am encouraged, for my children's benefit, that Councillor Walker stated his support for the Irish language strategy. I would encourage him and others to work with the local Irish language community, schools, youth clubs, cultural organisations et al to ensure their needs, as a central part of the community, are reflected in this strategy.


Belleeks, Co Armagh

Belfast Telegraph


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