And how was your weekend?

Did anything happen at the weekend’s “nice diversion” for the First and deputy First Ministers, et al, of the 13th British-Irish Council summit in Jersey? Apparently Peter Hain vetoed Edinburgh as a proposed site for the permanent secretariat, but on the theme of the summit – indigenous, minority and lesser-used languages? Here’s Northern Ireland Minister Paul Goggins’ statement

The Minister also welcomed recent comments by the Northern Ireland Culture Minister Nelson McCausland. “The St Andrews Agreement acknowledged the importance of language in its provisions on human rights, equality and mutual respect,” he said. “These provisions gave rise to the statutory duty on the Northern Ireland Executive to adopt strategies that enhance and protect the development of the Irish language and enhance and develop the Ulster Scots language, heritage and culture. “I very much welcome the recent commitment by Minister McCausland to bring forward such strategies and reaffirm the Government’s commitment to work with the Executive to support their development and implementation.”

Official BIC communiqué here. From the list of delegates, accompanying the NI First and deputy First Ministers was Junior Minister Newton, Culture Minister McCausland and Education Minister Ruane. Adds From the Assembly today, we have a junior ministerial statement.

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  • Brian Walker

    Well if you think the north-south institutions are the only ones being marginalised, read this drivel. Disagreement on a secretariat is a classic sign of irrelevance. A Z list taking part, nothing of substance on energy, tax anbd spend, the economy, economic integration, citizenship, immigration and the CTA, just a few of the matters of acute joint British-Irish interest. Just fusspotting about Jersey for God’s sake. This ought to be a transparent forum for discussing the strains at Stormont and giving the two governments’ line on them. Not a peep. Everything of susbstance remains intergovernmental, behind closed doors, or ignored.

  • Dewi

    “A Z list taking part”

    Whatever the substance of decision/discussion Brian this is not a Z List:

    Irish Government
    Mr. Brian Cowen TD
    Mr. Éamon Ó Cuív TD
    British Government
    Rt. Hon. Peter Hain MP
    Rt. Hon. Paul Goggins MP
    Scottish Government
    Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MP MSP
    Mr. Michael Russell, MSP
    Welsh Assembly Government
    Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan AM
    Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones AM
    Mr. Alun Ffred Jones AM
    Northern Ireland Executive
    Rt. Hon. Peter D Robinson MP MLA
    Mr. Martin McGuinness MP MLA
    Mr. Robin Newton MLA
    Mr. Nelson McCausland MLA
    Ms. Caitríona Ruane MLA

    Some of workstreams (sustainable energy for instance) look quire promising.

  • “the theme of the summit”

    Perhaps it’s worth highlighting this section from the BBC report:

    In September the BBC revealed that the Northern Ireland Executive was warned by the Foreign Office that its failure to agree on minority languages was creating international difficulties for the UK.

    The Executive failed to submit details of how it is fulfilling a commitment to promote Irish and Ulster Scots under the terms of a European charter.

    As a result the UK had to submit a late and incomplete report to the Council of Europe, the only country to do so.

    This caused annoyance at the Foreign Office and other devolved governments.

    The Executive has still not agreed on its submission.

    So much for Goggins spin.

  • OC


    Federation of the Anglo-Celtic Isles.

  • Seymour Major

    A commitment from a DUP Minister to

    “…adopt strategies that enhance and protect the development of the Irish language”

    is about as useful as a commitment from Martin McGuinnes to publish his memoirs.

  • Brian Walker

    OK Dewi, You worked hard at typing out the list so you deserve a reply. I shold have said a Z list from the British government. It won’t please you when I say that our friend the Neath MP whom I like, is a fairly low grade rep these days from HMG which clearly doesn’t rate the body highly among its commitments. Few of the top guys are recorded as having contributed so they may as well not have been there. The Taoiseach gave a wee interview, yes. Rhodri will be missed, but not here, nor will he it, I think. You cannot argue that this important stuff. It coudlbe miuch bettter used if the administrations were genuinely willing to compare notes.

  • I have actually been to a meeting on Jersey set up under the Council of the British Isles. It was on the digital divide, as Jersey has leadership on the economy, at the time concentrating on the digital economy.

    As usual, it is the working groups of officials and outsiders that get the work done, not the politicians.

  • dewi

    Brian – don’t know why on earth Elizabeth’s reps are there – as Hain’s veto shows they don’t actually bring a lot to the party – and who are they representing? England and Cornwall??

  • English Republic

    Loads of English representation there……..NOT!