DUP has 'veto' over Irish language standards says Jeffrey Donaldson

The DUP will have a veto over future Irish language standards in the North, Jeffrey Donaldson MP has claimed.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 1:03 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 1:08 pm

The so called veto is included in the text of the the New Decade, New Approach deal proposed by both governments in London and Dublin on Thursday evening.

The DUP has signalled its support for the proposed deal.

The Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle is scheduled to meet in Belfast on Saturday during which time it will decide whether to support the proposed deal or not.

In a live interview on The Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster this morning, the DUP's new Westminster leader said the New Decade, New Approach deal would mean that anything to do with Irish language legislation would have to be signed off by both the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Similarly, this would mean that legislation concerning sensititve British identity issues in the North would require the support of the DUP and crucially, Sinn Fein.

"It's important that there is agreement at Stormont on issues that are sensitive, like the Irish language" Mr. Donaldson told Stephen Nolan.

"That's why it is proposed that any standards that are to be set for the use of the Irish language have to be agreed by the first minister.

Sir. Jeffrey Donaldson MP (left), Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Julian Smith MP and Sinn Fein Deputy Leader, Michelle O'Neill MLA.

"This means the DUP will have a very important and crucial say in how those standards are drawn up and what they would be."

Stephen Nolan interrupted Mr. Donaldson to seek clarification on the concept of "agreement at Stormont".

"But 'for approval' means a unionist veto, Sir. Jeffrey, doesn't it," asked Stephen Nolan.

Jeffrey Donaldson replied: "Well that's the way Stormont operates, Stephen,

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and party colleague Nichola Mallon talk to the press in the Great Hall at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, as all party talks continue to try and get the Northern Ireland Assembly up-and-running again. (Photo: Presseye)

"It operates on the basis that there has to be cross community consent for these things and this means unionists have to consent.

"As you know, we [DUP] have said consistently that principle is vital to the effect of functioning our political institutions so unionist consent will be required."