If you were watching the news last night, you’ll have seen the PSF delegation, headed by Grizzly himself, going to talk to our new culture minister, the DUP’s Edwin Poots, about the implementation of the Acht Gaeilge. I fear they didn’t get very far. Pootsie, as his performance over the national stadium saga demonstrates, is a master at buck-passing and stonewalling. The situation currently is that, of the 4000 responses to the original consultation, the overwhelming majority were in favour and only a small number hostile, which confirms my view that most Prods don’t care much about Gaelic one way or the other. However, since the issue became a unionist hot potato, another consultation was called, and the DUP was properly mobilised this time. But fear not – our minister holds out the prospect of taking some unspecified non-legislative action for Gaeilgeoirí, just as long as it doesn’t get him into trouble in the Assembly.
But it was encouraging that Pootsie managed the traditional cúpla focal, thus proving, as the minister joked, that he knows as much Irish as many nationalist MLAs. This is probably true – Caitríona Ruane is a good speaker, and Barry McElduff can (and frequently does) talk Irish till the cows come home, but that’s about it. There can be few more painful experiences than going to a republican meeting and hearing the speaker read out a Gaelic text that neither he nor 80% of the audience understands.
Rud eile: Readers will be aware of the Stormont Executive’s campaign to encourage inward investment by lowering corporation tax in Norn Iron. Now comes word that El Gordo has a better idea: lowering the minimum wage. It’s plausible, I suppose, that London workers should get a premium, but what kind of cracked redistribution is it to further lower the wages of workers in what is already the lowest-paid region of the ‘UK’?