Paula Bradshaw: Alliance celebrates renaissance in the Irish language

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The Irish language, indigenous to this island, is undergoing a renaissance. Right across our community, people are increasingly enjoying and using Irish to enrich our towns and cities.

Alliance recognises this contribution and we want to encourage the development of Irish as part of our commitment to a diverse, inclusive, modern society.

We also recognise - given the pressures on crucial public services like health - that any support for the Irish language must be in balance with other demands on the public purse.

The sector has consistently delivered fantastic results with modest resources and it is welcome news that in Belfast only half the cost of a Council officer is being met by ratepayers.

If there is demand for support for Ulster Scots or minority languages then we will consider that too.

For Alliance, we want to see a society where everyone, regardless of their cultural traditions, enjoys full and fair participation. Irish and, for example, Ulster Scots are not in conflict but are complementary aspects of our shared heritage.

Be wary of anyone who tells you otherwise. Between Sinn Fein’s demands and the DUP’s hostility lies a way forward, where everyone in Northern Ireland can win.

Paula Bradshaw, Alliance Westminster candidate, South Belfast