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No further delay on language legislation, says Bradshaw

Alliance South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw has said there must be no further delay on minority language and culture legislation being brought forward by the Executive, despite ongoing leadership changes in Unionist parties.

Speaking after she and party leader Naomi Long MLA met Conradh na Gaeilge to cover some of the detail in commitments contained in New Decade, New Approach, Paula Bradshaw said the potential for any Bill to complete the legislative process in this Assembly mandate was steadily diminishing.

“It is now almost four years since I started my own initiative to find consensus on a range of issues around language and culture legislation, and 15 since the need for legislation on the Irish language and Ulster Scots was first agreed with the UK Government,” she said.

“In New Decade, New Approach, the terms of that legislation were agreed and responsibility for it handed to the DUP and Sinn Féin Ministers in the Executive Office. The potential for any Bill to complete its passage through the legislative process by the end of the current Assembly term is steadily diminishing, and will become close to impossible if it has not been laid before the Assembly before the summer recess.

“The parameters of this legislation on the Irish language and other cultural issues linked to the language and to Ulster Scots have already been discussed, refined and agreed. We share the deep frustration of those who cherish the Irish language and others that there is still no sign of the actual legislation having been drafted. 

“With regards to the Irish language specifically, we are clear the legislation will only help and protect its recognition as a language belonging to everyone and cherished by people from all backgrounds, and we will continue to work with everyone we can to take it forward on that basis.”