Belfast: Pootsball misses Irish goal

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Jan 22 14:52:39 UTC 2008

Pootsball misses Irish goal It may be too cynical to suggest that Culture
Minister Edwin Poots attended a GAA football match because it was a cheaper
act of support to nationalists than spending money on the Irish language,
but I will do it anyway. Poots knocked an Irish-language Act on the head due
to perceived expense and lack of cross-community appeal. He has not made any
provision for the Irish Language Broadcast Fund which will run out of money
in March 2009.  The fund does what it says on the tin - provides some
much-needed money for the production of television programmes. It is not the
money hole that a language act might be and it does not offend anyone's
sensibilities. Disgusted Loyalist can just as easily turn off the television
as Disinterested Nationalist.

It could be that Poots has swallowed the Sinn Féin line that the language is
theirs - after all they and their supporters in the language lobby push it
often enough. However, in the case of the broadcast fund, Poots could not be
any more wrong.  If anything, this is the language sector that is least
dominated by Shinners. Ironically, much work is commissioned from
English-language production companies who employ Irish speakers, often on a
temporary basis. The lack of funds will undermine an area where non-aligned
Irish speakers actually had half a chance of making a living and, just as
importantly, offered a more rounded view of what interests and entertains
Irish speakers. Poots's policy of 'Lights! Camera! No Action!' is wrong.
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