The Orange Order has reaffirmed its position on “Irish language legislation” following speculation that a deal at Stormont could see the creation of three bills covering Irish, Ulster-Scots and other cultural issues.
A spokesman for the institution told the News Letter the Orange Order would not “speculate on the outcome of the process” and pointed instead to an article published in the News Letter in September.
At that time, the Orange Order Grand Master Edward Stevenson had set out the institution’s opposition to an Irish language act in some detail.
Asked about suggestions that a deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein could see the creation of three bills, the Orange Order spokesman said: “We have previously made our position on Irish language legislation very clear in a detailed article by the grand master in the News Letter last autumn.”
After stating in the article that the order has “no quarrel with those who enjoy the Irish language and wish to use it”, Mr Stevenson outlined his opposition to any form of Irish language act “no matter what it’s called or how it’s packaged”.
He wrote: “The current demand for an Irish language act is simply the next chapter in the republican campaign to rid Northern Ireland of any remaining semblance of British cultural identity.”
He added: “Any legislation, no matter what it’s called or how it’s packaged, which underpins the Irish language in a legal framework, will have massive implications for local government, the courts, the civil service, schools and everyday life in Northern Ireland.”