Friday, June 01, 2007

Consultation to Irish Language Bill

Margaret O'Keeffe
Irish Language Bill Team
Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure
3rd Floor Interpoint
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ

Friday, 01 June 2007

Dear Margaret O'Keeffe,

Re: Irish Language Bill Consultation

The Officers and Members of the Ulster Society would like to express our distress at the current legislation proposed for the promotion of the Irish language.

We believe that it has been proposed only for political reasons as a sop to republicanism in the current process. It will only act as a further tool, used by those politicians, to create and advance a distinct and separate ‘Irish’ identity, quite contrary to the “shared future” ideas generally pursued by the government.

The divisions caused by the legislation, though resentment of the preferential treatment of Irish over Ulster-Scots, and in the association of the Irish language with Sinn Fein / IRA will only insure that this bill will undermine community relations and be detrimental to the progression of the Irish language in a non-political sense, such as is seen with Scots Gaelic in Scotland. Within that jurisdiction (and largely with Welsh in Wales) it is not associated with nationalism, or with particular ideologies or communities and thus cannot be perceived negatively by the community at large. This is not the case in Northern Ireland.

The only possible solution is to have parity of esteem, funding and legal protection for both Irish and Ulster-Scots. Only this equality would stop resentment and fracturing within the community.

Yours sincerely on behalf of the Ulster Society,

Graham Steven Barton
President, 06/07