Sinn Féin’s Kevin Campbell has suggested arguments that an Irish Language Act in the North would place too heavy a burden on the public coffers don’t add up.
The party’s Irish Language spokesman said that, in reality, the annual cost of legislation would amount to just 0.04 per cent of the annual block grant, or 0.4 per cent of the £1billion the Conservative Government promised the DUP under their ‘confidence and supply’ deal at Westminster.
“The Irish Language Act Sinn Féin is campaigning for is prudent,practical and pragmatic. Costs have been estimated by officials at around £4m per annum - from a resource budget of over £10bn,” said Mr. Campbell.
He pointed to the successful implementation of a Welsh Language Act in 1993 and the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act of 2005, as examples of progressive language legislation that should be emulated here.
“Former Finance Minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, was in no doubt the Irish Language Act will represent excellent value, especially when,as in Wales and Scotland, we start to view Irish as not just a cultural but also aneconomic and tourism asset,” he said.
Conradh na Gaeilge has separately estimated the annual running cost of implementing Irish language legislation at just £2million per annum, though the one-off establishment cost of an act would be between £8.5 and £9million over 5 years.