No, not a surprise warm-up for the All Blacks match… It can be done. The Welsh Assembly supports it, the UK government supports it.
The fact that a Welsh-speaking minister was representing the entire UK ( at an EU Council of Ministers meeting) added to the sense of history.
But tolerance does not come cheap. It costs European taxpayers more than 1 billion euros ($1.26 billion) a year just to translate speeches and official texts.
But apart from travel to Brussels, these translation costs are borne by the National Assembly for Wales. The Daily Mail asks the obvious question. I would put it this way: what is the cost, and what is the cultural value of minority language speaking in a public forum and how do you relate the one to the other? Whatever your answer, the Welsh experience strengthens the case for an Irish Language Act. Adds As an SDLP private members Bill is proposed, I don’t know what to make of this DUP statement….DUP RESPONDS TO SDLP LANGUAGE PROPOSAL
Lord Browne of Belmont said:
The DUP stated in its 2007 Manifesto that we would not support the
introduction of a costly Irish Language Act. This commitment was
followed through by Edwin Poots in the Assembly when he
announced that he would not be introducing a Bill for the Irish
This is a commonsense position as the costs involved with an Act
would be astronomical. We have said consistently that we are not
opposed to the Irish language nor those who speak it but we
believe that those who have politicised the Irish language are not
good advertisements for it.
It is sad that some, even in the Assembly, try to use the Irish
language as a cultural weapon. Such an approach should end.
The DUP is using devolution to restore equality in cultural funding
and it is important that this good work is built upon, said the DUP
Is “such an approach were to end,” whatever than means exactly, would the DUP soften its line on the language?
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London