Jim Allister: Unionists need to unite against an Irish language act

TUV Leader Jim Allister at Stormont.'Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
TUV Leader Jim Allister at Stormont.'Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Saturday’s Morning View (‘Welcome voices against a standalone Irish language act,’ Sep 9), highlighting the folly of conceding an Irish language act, could not have been more timely.

In particular this warning, “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.”

Robin Swann, who has reiterated Ulster Unionist opposition to a standalone Irish language act. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/Press Eye

Robin Swann, who has reiterated Ulster Unionist opposition to a standalone Irish language act. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/Press Eye

What made the editorial so timely was the fact on the same day, in scene-setting for a climbdown, Arlene Foster was proclaiming the need for legislation on Ulster Scots.

An Irish language act, whether under the guise of a culture act or twin tracked with Ulster Scots legislation, would irreversibly change the face of Northern Ireland for ever.

However it is dressed up, it would be the vehicle to hollow out our Britishness and make the public service a cold house for unionists.

Promoting Ulster Scots must not be abused as a figleaf to placate Sinn Fein’s insatiable demands on the Irish language.

Letters to Editor

Letters to Editor

As the editorial urged this is something on which unionists need to unite, with principle taking precedence over jobs and short term financial gain.

There is much more at stake which sops to Irish language promotion, for the sake of obtaining office, must not jeopardise.

I welcome the UUP’s rejection of Irish language legislation and past assurances from leading DUP figures, but now is the time when actions must match the words.

There can be no compromise on this defining issue.

Jim Allister, TUV leader, North Antrim