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With your permission, Mr Speaker, I will answer questions 5 and 11 together. The interdepartmental charter implementation group has begun consideration of a strategy for indigenous minority languages. That strategy aims to protect, enhance and develop the Ulster-Scots language, heritage and culture and the Irish language. I will present an initial paper to the Executive Committee on that later this year.
Does the Minister see a role for himself in depoliticising the controversy that surrounds the Irish language? Also, does he see any merit in a potential compromise based on the language-scheme approach that his Department consulted on prior to the restoration of devolution, which reflects the reality on the ground from the bottom up, rather than imposing something from the top down?
I do not disagree with the general thrust of the Member’s comments. Depoliticising the Irish language is an excellent idea, which should have been thought of many years ago. There are many Irish-language enthusiasts who do not politicise the language, but those who do should cease forthwith. Hopefully, we can advance a proposal for languages per se within a non-political framework and in a non-contentious manner.