Givan restores Líofa Bursary Scheme funding

My decision on the Líofa Bursary Scheme was not a political decision. I have now identified the necessary funding to advance this scheme. — Paul Givan (@paulgivan) January 12, 2017 Olive branch being offered, but is it too little, too late?

Department for Communities cuts funding for the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme

Some news just in from the Department for Communities, under the leadership of the DUP’s Paul Givan. The Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme enabled at least 100 people a year to attend summer Irish language classes in the Donegal gaeltacht. The Líofa programme was set up by former culture minister, Carál Ní Chuilín. The DfC announced the cut in an email from the Líofa office. It was sent to the boards of the gaeltacht colleges on 23 December. The report goes …

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Liofa 2015- what’s to lose?

Northern Irish sports stars are apparently to be “targeted” but thankfully this time it is with something more benign than letter bombs or online hate messages: Sports stars targeted in Irish push  Northern Ireland’s police service and a string of sporting bodies are being asked to back a plan to create an extra 1,000 Irish speakers by 2015. Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin will ask high-profile figures, plus members of the public, to agree to try to become “liofa”, Irish …

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Arlene Foster, yes but spare us the revisionism.

Although by now it seems that the four days since Arlene Foster resignation as First Minister seems like ancient history, given all that’s subsequently occurred, it remains important that the appalling revisionism over her tenure is addressed – from a unionist perspective. In common with most ousted unionist leaders since O’Neill, Arlene is already being presented as a progressive moderniser undermined by the hardcore.  Her own allies are peddling this notion, as are nationalist commentators, both for their own ends. …

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The DUP has made some surprising statements this week, but do they have what it takes to play?

When against our expectation Ed Poots won the leadership a friend and I asked what it could possibly mean. The best he could come up with was the idea that being of the right, Mr Poots might not fear to go places Mrs Foster had shrunk away from. With this thought in mind what to make of the new leadership team for the DUP? When you split a party down the middle as Poots has there are people who have …

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Edwin Poots’ camp suggests Paul Givan could be First Minister with role split from party leadership

The process to depose and replace Arlene Foster as DUP leader and First Minister is turning into the kind of page-turner James Patterson could be proud of. This morning’s new chapter comes from Ciaran Barnes in the Sunday Life and Suzanne Breen on BBC NI’s Sunday Politics. Edwin Poots’ camp is briefing that he wants to be party leader but not First Minister. Breen suggested that fellow Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan is in line to be his pick for …

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If Arlene Foster Goes, Who Steers The DUP Ship?

Rumours circulating on social media today, as well as reporting by The News Letter’s Sam McBride, indicate that Arlene Foster’s time at the helm of the DUP, and as First Minister, is coming to a close. If rumours are to be believed (and we all need a big dash of salt these days) then this is something outside of the First Minister’s immediate control. With plummeting polling numbers showing the DUP to drop below Sinn Fein in next year’s Assembly …

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After #LE19n …The UUP must commit to enlarging the shadow of the future…

The Ulster Unionists are usually the party which gets the worst coverage relative to their actual performance in elections. Direct comparisons with 2014 local government election are far from flattering, but there’s been a less than 1% fall since the Assembly elections of two years ago. There’s barely any change if you take the benchmark as Jim Nicholson’s 2014 European campaign. Of course they have problems, but as Professor Tim Bale has noted, a party around as long as the …

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Opposition parties must continue to call “cartel” on everything that’s gone wrong since 2002/3.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. The above quote is generally attributed to Einstein, but it’s likely that he borrowed the idea from Ben Franklin or perhaps from some ancient piece of Chinese wisdom. Wherever it came from it fits the current impasse Northern Ireland now finds itself in. Does anyone seriously think there’s going to be a functional government between two parties whose politics of negation will end …

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How language and culture become ‘sectarianised’

The day when we got three words of Irish from Nelson McCausland should be a red letter day for us Irish speakers but the use by Nelson of ‘An Béal Bocht’, the title the classic comic novel by Strabane’s Brian Ó Nualláín, (aka Myles na Gopaleen/Flann O’Brien), marks yet another low point in the discourse on language issues by yet another unionist politician. He was never known as Brian O’Nolan as Nelson writes, effecting to reduce this giant of Irish …

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Congratulations are due to the DUP and Sinn Fein negotiators. How can the DUP be persuaded to implement it in their own long term interests?

After rubbing our eyes several times, the first thing  to do about the 13 pages of  the Draft Agreement published  in full by  Eamonn Mallie is to have it recognised for what it claims to be.   As Sinn Fein has already insisted on its authenticity, the initiative now lies with the DUP.  Clearly the document was the hymn sheet the secretary state Karen Bradley was working off in her Commons statement yesterday , although she understandably  refused to publish it, …

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Was an Irish Language Act really a bridge too far?

What a week. The DUP Leader, Arlene Foster has brought the curtain down on the current round of talks. It is commonly assumed that selling a stand alone, Irish Language Act is just something that would be a bridge too far for any Unionist leader. However, just taking a stroll down memory lane I wonder is this actually a fair representation of where Unionist voters actually are. Do I think they want an Irish Language Act? No. Would it be …

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Grassroots Campaign for Irish Language Legislation transformed political discourse, but where are we now and how can we help deliver meaningful change?

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin writes for Slugger about the upcoming talks and the Irish Language Act On Wednesday our local political parties, this time the 5 ‘main parties’ as they are described in the media, will return to the table to try and flesh out a deal which would allow for the Executive to be formed and the MLA’s to take their seats in the Assembly once more. The issues in the ‘to be resolved’ box is much the same …

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A Year Without Government Series: Part I of III

This week will mark one year since the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly and one year without government in Northern Ireland. Over the next few articles from myself on this site I hope to take a satirical and hopefully comical look back on the events of this year and how we managed to find ourselves in the situation. The following was written entirely tongue in cheek and none of it should be taken very seriously. How did we get …

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Ulster Scots, Ulster Irish, Irish Scots, Ulster Gaelic, Gaeilge Uladh

As Summer rolls on and disputes rumble regarding the possibility (or not) of the enactment of an Irish Language Act – or a Languages Act – or a Culture(s) Act,  we seem to be stuck in a labyrinth of ever decreasing circles or some Byzantine entrapment from which there is no escape. As Christy Moore once sang:  For all of our languages we can’t communicate. As an Irish speaker I’m conflicted about Ulster Scots.  It’s clearly a dialect of English …

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The Challenge facing Sinn Fein

With the focus having switched from Westminster to Stormont, speculation will continue to grow about the nature and likelihood of any deal to deliver a return of devolved government. Yet many continue to miss one key factor which is likely to mitigate against a quick return to Stormont. The republican leaders now in the spotlight will be very conscious of the reality that the most popular and reinvigorating measure taken by a Sinn Fein leader over the past decade was …

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DUP hostility to Others (the root of our political crisis) gets a British airing

Undoubtedly the most intriguing aspect of the early post-election period has been how the British public has been introduced to the DUP by a mainstream media in Britain which clearly gave the party little or no attention in the past. The long list of controversial comments about gays, Muslims, Catholics and other Others has even been making front page news as the DUP experiences the heat associated with fifteen minutes of fame. The underlying theme remains one of a party …

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From Good Friday to Lá Dearg – the journey towards rights for Irish speakers

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin is an Irish Language Activist and is writing this in a personal capacity On the 20th of May thousands will make their way to Belfast to support the increasing calls for legislative protection for the Irish language, in the form of an Irish language act. Those attending, like the Irish language community itself, come from different backgrounds and have different views on many important issues, but on the issue of the role of the state regarding …

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