Welcome voices against a standalone Irish language act

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The latest contribution by Robin Swann on why Northern Ireland does not need a standalone Irish language act is timely and welcome.

There is a link below to the Ulster Unionist Party leader’s statement on the matter.

DUP politicians who made similar statements in the past on the matter were of course right.

And the TUV leader Jim Allister’s document rebutting the grievances and myths that are trotted out as part of this push for a standalone act was also a key contribution to the debate.

In the coming weeks, this newspaper will be giving space to such voices.

Far from an Irish language act becoming more palatable with time, Sinn Fein’s disgraceful behaviour to date has only shown how unacceptable such an act will be.

The party’s tactics are clear: relentless instability. Its complaints have shifted from RHI to Arlene Foster to a Bill of Rights to legacy inquests (many for IRA terrorists) to gay marriage to the Irish language, then back and forth on that list.

It now seems to think that Michelle O’Neill saying that it is not pursuing a chaos strategy somehow proves the point, or that a retreat from 10% quotas in the public sector makes a standalone act OK, as if a lesser percentage might be acceptable.

There are many other problems with legislation, including road signage. Unionists in towns such as Rathfriland in south Down know how deliberately provocative and expensive Irish signs are in areas where they have no support.

What must not now happen is a sudden announcement on support for Ulster Scots as a way for republicans, in Sinn Fein and other parties, to get their way on Irish legislation.

This is something on which unionists need to unite.

We have many admirable politicians for whom long term principles take precedence over jobs and short term financial gain and we trust that those voices will prevail at this critical time for the future of Northern Ireland.

Robin Swann: The UUP still says no to an Irish language act