The bloke on the right will be familiar to southern readers. It’s Éamon Ó Cuív, scion of the de Valera family, Minister for Culchies and Gaeilgeoirí and uncrowned King of Connacht. The bloke on the left, if you need an introduction, is the new Stormont culture minister, Nelson McCausland, attending his first North-South Ministerial Council in the Donegal Gaeltacht. I’m sure a grand ould time was had by all, but on the way Nelson gave the Beeb the benefit of his thoughts on multiculturalism:
Speaking earlier, Mr McCausland said he would not attend a Catholic church service during his tenure as minister.
“I would not attend a service in a Roman Catholic church,” he said.
“That has always been my position and remains such.
“That does not mean I do not have good relationships with Roman Catholic people.”
Some nationalists have criticised the minister’s attitude to the Irish language and the GAA.
The Ulster-Scots enthusiast told the BBC his knowledge of the Irish language would “probably remain somewhat limited”.
“I always take the view that just because somebody can say a few words in any language, it doesn’t mean they’ve got any great knowledge of it,” he said.
“I’m living at present in a cul-de-sac but it doesn’t mean I’m fluent in French.”
You said it, Nelson. And again:
Mr McCausland is also responsible for sport, following DUP leader Peter Robinson’s reshuffle last month.
His predecessor Gregory Campbell caused a row by referring to the all-Ireland football final as an “international event” after Tyrone’s victory over Kerry last September.
Mr McCausland said he did not know Tyrone were the Gaelic football champions, adding that neither did he know who the Northern Ireland champions were in squash or lacrosse.
Now, let’s not be overly cynical. It’s not as if Nelson has no cultural credentials at all. He plays the accordion, and he used to be the Heid-Yin of the Ulster-Scots Heirskip Cooncil, and those credentials are surely good enough for me. He’s even signalled that he might attend a GAA match, as long as it wasn’t on a Sunday. Since Nelson is a big cheese in the Lord’s Day Observance Society, one can only admire his fidelity to his principles.
Of course, lots of nationalists will be burying their heads in their hands and saying, “Oh Lord, we thought Gregory Campbell was bad…” But I reckon winding up nationalists was why Nelson got the job in the first place. I’m sorry if that makes Peter Robinson sound like a Machiavellian schemer, but it’s the only explanation I can think of.