Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Caral Ni Chuilin, discussed the prospect of an Irish Language Bill during today’s Question Time. The Minister confirmed that Departmental officials will be briefing the CAL Committee in early October on the results of the public consultation on the Bill. Ms Ni Chuilin will then consider the comments of the Committee before publishing the report of the consultation. Nearly 13,000 people responded to the consultation with 95% in support of the legislation. The Minister added “I am determined to progress the Bill as far as possible, and I call on all sides of the House to show their support,” adding “People would certainly see it as a sign that people have moved on politically and recognised that the language does not belong to one section of the community; it belongs to us all. I believe that an Irish language Act is well overdue. For the generations who are waiting for language rights, it would definitely be a sign that this place was moving in the right direction.”
The Minister also discussed investment in subregional football stadiums. The subregional programme for soccer business case has been developed with DFP and approval received in June 2015. Programme-specific details are being finalised and plans for formal public consultation are under way. It is anticipated that the programme will be formally launched in 2016 with £36m of capital delivery between 2016-2018 – “The forthcoming process for the allocation of funding will be fair, open and transparent and based on an evidenced approach to demonstrating need and investment. Award recommendations will be made on the basis of criteria and projects attaining a high assessment score.”
Throughout Question Time the Minister also answered questions on funding cuts for Disability Sport NI, the Art and Culture Strategy, Casement Park and boxing funding. During topical questions Ms Ni Chuilin continued to field questions on the Commonwealth Youth Games, Sport NI and community and amateur sports clubs.