DUP leader Arlene Foster has called for “practical measures with a legislative underpinning” to promote Ulster Scots heritage and language, amid the ongoing row over Sinn Féin’s demands for a standalone Irish language act.
The DUP has so far resisted those demands, but have appeared less reticent about the possibility of legislative protections for both Irish and Ulster Scots.
Former DUP leader Peter Robinson, for example, said in June that both languages “can be accommodated”.
Mrs Foster called for statutory arrangements to promote Ulster Scots in an article for the Ulster-Scot newspaper, published today.
In her article, she discussed in some length the Ulster Scots heritage of her home county, Fermanagh.
Mrs Foster also set out five “goals” to achieve greater “cultural security and confidence” in Northern Ireland. Her five goals were: “We must celebrate and promote the diversity of cultural wealth of Northern Ireland in all its aspects.
“We must affirm the identities people hold here. We must enable those identities to develop and to be passed down to future generations. We must welcome and integrate the new identities that have made Northern Ireland their home and who are adding to our cultural wealth. And we must celebrate our pride in our home and the achievements of all of our people.”
She added: “In practical terms, government actions and policy should be built around respect, recognition, representation and resource for the identities here.”
The DUP leader continued: “The focus must be upon practical measures with a legislative underpinning and that monies are spent strategically and deliver on the five goals I have outlined.”