Skepticism of UK government plans for language in the North


Skepticism has been expressed over plans by the UK government to legislate culture and language in Northern Ireland.

the document released after the Queen’s Speech included plans for the Identity and Language (Northern Ireland) Bill.

The government in Westminster was expected to introduce the bill ahead of the Stormont election last week.

He fell in the Northern Ireland office after Stormont’s parties were unable to agree to introduce cultural and language legislation in the Northern Ireland Assembly – which was part of the New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) agreement.

Plans include an Office of Cultural Identity and Expression to promote respect for diversity as well as an Irish Language Commissioner and a Commissioner to develop the language, arts and literature associated with the British tradition of ‘Ulster Scots/Ulster.

Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O’Neill expressed skepticism about the plans.

Speaking to the media during a visit to Ulster Hospital in east Belfast on Tuesday, she said: “I never trusted Boris Johnson, I don’t trust the Tories, but what I’m going to do is hold their feet to the fire on the political commitments they’ve made.

“They have shown time and time again that they are backing away from their political commitments, so I will wait to see the ink on paper in terms of language and cultural bills.”

The identity and language package had been promised in the NDNA deal that restored power-sharing in early 2020.

The decision was reported ahead of the speech, but delays in presenting the measures were criticized by Irish-speaking campaigners.

Earlier this year, campaigners said they walked out of a meeting with junior British minister Conor Burns, citing a lack of clarity over when the legislation would be tabled.

The promised legislation will also require the Northern Ireland Department of Education to encourage and facilitate the use of Ulster Scots, with the Secretary of State empowered to step in to ensure commitments are met. by the executive.

Irish lobby group Conradh na Gaeilge reacted cautiously.

President Paula Melvin said they had been here “many, many times before” and called for a delivery date.

“The UK government originally committed to introducing Irish language legislation in the Saint Andrew Agreement in 2006,” she said.

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