Robin Swann on why he’s not convinced by a stand alone Irish Language Act…
Instead of focussing on that which should unite society – the need to tackle waiting-lists, the crisis in school budgets, and the need to create new and better jobs – Northern Ireland is being all but held to ransom by Sinn Fein demands about a language that was politicised by them and used and abused by them for their own selfish reasons.
Sinn Fein have now disassociated themselves from the Conradh na Gaeilge proposal that 10% of civil service recruits should be fluent Irish speakers. It should, however, be noted that the idea of positive discrimination has not been ruled out completely, merely the percentage. Quite simply, the Ulster Unionist Party will not support discrimination against English speakers.
It takes a lot of political capital to unlock such generosity towards one section of society, and it seems to me, no one in nationalism is currently prepared to spend what it might take to get such an action up and going.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty