Assembly: Languages

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

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Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker 12:00 am, 20th November 2000

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.