Assembly: Languages

– in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:00 am on 20th November 2000.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 12:00 am, 20th November 2000

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Several weeks ago I raised the question of statements being made in the House in Irish which were not fully translated into English. You were to give a ruling on the matter. We received a rather inadequate excuse from the Minister involved, but we did not receive a ruling from you.

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

The Minister responded and explained what had happened. At the time I made it clear that I regarded the Minister’s response as adequate. She apologised to the House because there had been an error. All statements and responses — [Interruption].

Order. It is out of order for mobile telephones to ring in the Chamber.

The position is clear. When responses are made in a language other than English, a full and accurate translation must be given. On a number of occasions I have checked the matter. For Members who wish to have a simultaneous translation, a report showing the costs and other details has been available for over 18 months. It is simply a matter of a proposal to be taken forward by the Business Committee.

My ruling is clear: any statements made in a language other than English must be translated fully and accurately. On that occasion the statement was not translated fully and accurately, but the Minister fully and promptly apologised.

Photo of Ian Paisley Jnr Ian Paisley Jnr DUP

On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

I am not taking any further points of order at this stage. We are simply delaying business, and many of these points are not points of order. If there are any further points of order I will take them later.