Speaking after a meeting with Irish language umbrella group POBAL, the Lagan Valley Assembly member stated: “Today’s meeting was highly productive, and there are certainly key areas, such as Irish-language broadcasting and Irish-medium education, where we can support legislation to clarify the situation and enhance the language.
“We are strongly of the view that the Irish language, if de-politicized, can deliver a significant diversity dividend to Northern Ireland.
“Proposals setting requirements on public authorities must be proofed to ensure they deliver benefit to the public overall. People must treat Irish, but also use Irish, with respect.
“An Irish Language Act was agreed at St Andrews and we must find a way to deliver one which works, both for those who use Irish and those who do not. The advantage of an Act will be to replace a piecemeal approach to the language with a clear strategy, based in legislation, which clarifies the duties of public bodies and promotes its appropriate use among the population.
“We continue to take the view that an Act based on a ‘language scheme’ approach, accompanied by strong provision where demand exists in broadcasting and education, will be a significant step forward for everyone with an interest in the language. We have pledged to build consensus for this among as wide a range of political opinion as possible.”