British-Irish Council: Summit

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:30 am on 30th November 2021.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 10:30 am, 30th November 2021

Languages thrive when people want to use them. We have found that in other places. Indeed, the legislation that was brought in in the Republic of Ireland did not assist the language. Many people would argue that it was to the detriment of the language. I know that a lot of Members in the House have a strong desire for legislation, and that desire is reflected in a section of our community. I suggest that the focus should be on how they encourage people to participate.

Encouragement does not involve trying to impose something on people who do not want it to be imposed on them. Irish dancing, for example, is enjoyed across the community. If there were a bit less politics around the Irish language, perhaps it would be utilised more broadly across the community as well. There is too much politics in it. Perhaps some Members should reflect on that.