£171m public funds for Irish in past five years, says DUP

The DUP has demanded a detailed audit into funding for the Irish language, claiming it has received more than £171m in public money in five years.

Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 1:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 10:29 am
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has called for an audit over funding for the Irish language

The party’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds said Stormont has pumped “vast sums” of money into the language since 2011/12.

According to figures obtained by the North Belfast MP, this public funding has included:

• £88.4m on revenue costs and grants for Irish medium schools

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• £30.9m on capital costs for Irish Medium schools

• £15m on the Irish Language Broadcast Fund

• £11.9m on community grants to Irish Language projects

• £11.1m on Foras na Gaeilge

•£8m on Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge (Capital Infrastructure Fund)

• £5m on Irish Language programmes at the BBC

• £900,000 on the Liofa Initiative

Mr Dodds branded Sinn Fein’s demands for equality for the Irish language a “massive deception”, adding: “Sinn Fein stands on street corners protesting and crying discrimination, demanding more and more for the Irish language, but the truth of the matter is that the Irish language is receiving vast sums of public money, far more than any other cultural identity in Northern Ireland.

“Their campaign for language equality is a huge deception, based on telling lies so often they are accepted as facts.

“We need to see cultural equality in Northern Ireland, but it needs to be real equality, not Trojan horse equality.

“A good starting point would be an audit to establish exactly how much funding different cultural identities are receiving and then we can have a meaningful discussion about the equitable distribution of resources.”

In response, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín has said Mr Dodds’ criticisms of Irish language funding is “yet another example of DUP arrogance and disrespect”.

She added: “Once again the DUP’s contempt for the Irish language and identity has been exposed.

“It also underscores the need for an Irish language act to protect the rights of Irish speakers.

“The call by the DUP for an audit of how much funding goes to different cultural identities is yet another example of the DUP attempting to sectarianise this campaign.

“The Irish language belongs to everyone and threatens no one,” the North Belfast Assembly candidate added.