Since taking up the portfolio of Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, I have attended nine sports events and 22 cultural and arts events. Those events have taken place in 12 constituencies. I intend to continue that commitment, and I plan to attend three sports and 14 cultural and arts events over the next four weeks.
I shall leave that to the Minister’s discretion. I presume that that may be one of the cultural events that he has listed to attend.
Is the Minister aware that all sporting bodies are delighted that he is in post as a devolved Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure? Will he endeavour to attend as many events as possible and meet the hopes and expectations of as many people as possible? There is a big expectation — for people have high hopes that devolution will result in much more energy and investment in sporting and cultural events here.
Go raibh maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle. Does the Minister value the contribution made to sports development, and wider society, by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)? Is he aware that this coming weekend will see the biggest single cultural or sporting event in the province of Ulster with the match between Tyrone and Donegal in Clones? If he were so inclined, would the Minister welcome an invite to the game?
As I have already said, all sports make a significant contribution to the well-being of society. I do not seek to be exclusive; nor should others seek to be exclusive by saying that only one sport is doing a good job. All sports are doing a good job. I have not received an invitation to the game, but I will deal with each invitation as it comes. I have, however, made it clear that I do not intend to attend any events held on a Sunday, as that is a day that I spend with my family.