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Stop wrangling or bring in direct rule

I am utterly frustrated at the continuing impasse in negotiations to restore the Assembly. The obstacles that have been created are as ridiculous as they are irrelevant.

I support the Irish language, but I don't consider it to be under threat through the absence of a formal Irish Language Act.

Irish has come in from the cold in the Northern Irish education system. Irish-medium schools have been set up where, to be honest, numbers do not justify their establishment. Finance has been provided to produce excellent Irish textbooks.

The greatest threat to the growth of the language is the attempt to use it politically to provoke antagonism and foment division. Similarly, political posturing is not helping Ulster-Scots. Claiming equal status at this stage is unrealistic.

The edition of the 16-page Ulster-Scots Agency newspaper in front of me contains 12 lines of poetry and an eight-word 'wurd search' for the weans in Ulster-Scots. The rest is in English.

A lot of work has to be done by people on the ground if the status of Ulster-Scots is to be raised.

Of course, if we are discussing linguistic matters, we are not discussing Brexit, cash for ash, cutbacks, attacks on living standards, security, education, health, housing, unemployment and the financial incompetence of government departments.

Other matters which have been raised - same-sex marriage, for example - should be dealt with within the Assembly, otherwise, why have an Assembly in the first place?

Party is being put before people. While this ludicrous wrangling has been going on, community workers have lost their jobs, money has been kept back from basic social services, doctors have threatened to withdraw from the NHS and uncertainty is all-pervasive.

James Brokenshire should be a candidate for sainthood. But enough is enough. There should be no more postponements.

If the protagonists are not willing to do the job they were elected to do, direct rule is the only answer.


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