Statement by Yvonne Boyle, Alliance Arts & Cultural Spokesperson:
The resignation of Lord Laird as Chairperson of the Ulster-Scots Agency is disappointing, but the public, which funds the agency, also needs to know the wider picture.
Lord Laird’s comments about stalling in Government are not without merit. However, the agency itself has had a consistent under spend, so it is puzzling to suggest it is under funded.
For over four years the Agency has not produced a Corporate Plan which clearly identities need and which provides quantifiable, achievable objectives for Ulster Scots language and culture.
This is critical in order to build capacity and accountability and is directly linked to the success realistic bids for further funding.
The Agency needs to show to the public it can spend appropriately in a planned, strategic way.
Alliance supports the promotion of all minority languages, including Cantonese, which is used as a first language by more people in Northern Ireland than Irish or Ulster Scots.
Attempts to ensure the Government supports the promotion of cultural diversity in a fair, creative way, must be matched by building up good practice within the arts and cultural sector.