DUP laying groundwork for significant Irish language shift say TUV

TUV Leader Jim Allister. Photo by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

TUV Leader Jim Allister. Photo by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

The DUP are “laying the groundwork for what could be a significant shift on the Irish language”, the TUV has claimed.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said she will meet with Irish language enthusiasts in the coming days as parties work to overcome differences and meet a new powersharing deadline.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has once again extended the negotiation process by a further few weeks in a bid to achieve a breakthrough.

One of the main sticking points that have led to stalemate in the talks has been Sinn Fein’s demands for an Irish Language Act.

And TUV leader Jim Allister said it was “hard to believe” that the break in the talks over Easter coinciding with Mrs Foster’s announcement that she is to meet with Irish language activists is coincidental.

He also expressed fears that an implementation of an Irish Language Act would be “hugely divisive”.

Morning View: Irish must not be forced by law on the community at large

Mr Allister claimed such an act would have a major impact on employment, stating that it would give Irish speakers a “huge advantage” in the public sector jobs market.

The North Antrim MLA added: “The aggressive promotion of Irish which will follow an Irish Language Act will be hugely divisive.

“Irish speakers are found in much greater numbers in the Roman Catholic community than in the Protestant community.

“This will mean that if an Irish Language Act is brought forward Protestants will be at a disadvantage within the jobs market.

“This is a serious equality issue which has been ignored when it comes to the discussions around this matter.”

Morning View: Irish must not be forced by law on the community at large