Agency must be scrutinised for part played in Ulster Scots demise

Unfazed by the jingoistic response delivered by CEO Ian Crozier in his infantile defence of the Ulster-Scots Agency (July 25) to quote Yeats, I dropped a stone and never even got a splash. In my letter – ‘Insult to Ulster-Scots dialect’ (July 22) – I expressed grave concern at the abysmal lack of progress being made by the Ulster Scots Agency in promoting the language/dialect and as a result of their failure the language/dialect was indeed dead.

CEO Crozier’s response to this criticism was astonishing but true to type when he stated: “Much good work is being done, our concert filled Titanic in Belfast in January.”

As if to compound this nonsense and attach a pinch of credibility to his leadership he lapses into some pseudo Ulster Scots his Granny taught him, “an jist so’s ye ken this toon moose”. The people who denigrate Ulster Scots will have a field day laughing. This is akin to being head of the French department but unable to speak French, but we must remember this is Ulster Scotsland where what you know is not always the most important thing.

If I may be permitted to pass on one piece of advice to it would be: “Houl yir tongue man.”

The Ulster-Scots Agency has metamorphosed into a different kettle of fish from its founding precept of promoting the language/dialect and culture.

That this quango department masquerading as a promoter of Ulster Scots language should receive £ 2.3m to promote concerts and marching bands is a national affront.

Regarding Mr Crozier’s indecorous comment that not all programmes will reach the standard demanded by Wilson Burgess, I ask, if not, why not? In the next sentence up pops another generalisation that there will be a better standard of Ulster Scots programmes, an admission that the present ones are not up to scratch.

When I pointed out that the platitudinous drivel being presented on the Ulster Scots radio programme Kintra was a recitation of cackling inanity I wanted to know if those were responsible for the demise of the Ulster Scots language.

Let CEO Ian Crozier have no illusions, the agency under his leadership must also come under scrutiny for the appalling part which they have played in the demise of a once noble language, and while newspaper editors allow me space I will perpetuate that scrutiny.


Derry City

Adjusting the locks of public property is hardly key to the future

It appears that marking out territory has reached a new level of depravity where the practice of breaking into a water tower to adorn it with flags and paint is now acceptable practice. Apparently this is the case, at least in Rathfriland, where DUP MLA Jim Wells describes the criminal damage to the security door as ‘adjusting the lock’.

Where on earth is this kind of warped thinking leading to? Does this former minister in the power-sharing assembly think that it is fine to ‘adjust the locks’ of public property anywhere in the north to create even more division among people who badly need the right to live in a neutral environment?

Here in East Derry a roundabout at Limavady was ‘adjusted’ to accommodate sectarian painting. Presumably Mr Wells would also endorse that in the name of the unionist community,  as he puts it?

It is my belief that the vast majority of people, including unionists, don’t want to live in an environment which serves only as a constant reminder that there is so much to be done to set our sights above the level of water towers with broken locks, flags and sectarian paint.

Mr Wells assures us he has given the Water Service an assurance that this kind of incident won’t happen for another eight years. I wonder with his kind of leadership where will this place be in eight years?

How many more locks might be ‘adjusted’ to promote division among people who are desperately crying out for a new dawn and

a new commitment to mutual respect for diversity and respect for each other?

I wonder how his party leader Arlene Foster feels about his endorsement of ‘adjusting locks’ to enter public property to sectarianise it with flags and paint.

Hopefully she is of a mind that adjusting locks is hardly the key to the future.


SDLP, East Derry

Catholic Boris

There has been considerable fuss about  Boris Johnson being  Catholic – at least having been baptised as a Catholic.

I have received numerous inquiries about my reaction to this. I have responded in this way.

In 1921 the British government came up with the ‘too-clever-by-half’ idea to appoint a new Viceroy for Ireland who was from a famous English Catholic family – Lord Edmund Talbot, later FitzAlan, a Howard by  birth. This was meant to conciliate Irish republicans and nationalists.

Sinn Féin’s classic response was: “A Catholic hangman would be as welcome.”

That about sums up my reaction to Boris Johnson. As long as any English ruler claims to rule any part of Ireland, I couldn’t care less whether he/she is Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, atheist, or whatever. No faith, or lack thereof, makes England’s rule of any part of Ireland acceptable or democratic. I say England because one cannot really blame Wales (despite Lloyd George) or Scotland (despite Lord Balfour) – or, indeed,  the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Julian Smith, who was born in Scotland.


Washington DC

Belfast can be at forefront of renewable challenge

I stand in support of the Harland & Wolff workers. I was brought up in Dundonald.

I acknowledge the expertise that the workforce has developed in the renewables industries sector. It’s a travesty to see people with these skills under threat of redundancy.

Indeed, the threat to these jobs sums up the lack of forward thinking and ability to get to grips with climate breakdown across the board.

The extractive industry is alive and well in Northern Ireland with a new application to frack in Fermanagh and petroleum licence applications submitted in Belfast.

Corporations are attempting to pull fossil fuels out of our ground while jobs in renewable technology may go to the wall.

I back the calls of unions to nationalise the shipyard.

But – I want to see a shipyard and indeed Belfast and Northern Ireland leading the way in the renewable energy sector.

The government must make and stick to strong incentives for renewable energy.

We have 11 years to tackle climate breakdown and Belfast can be at the forefront of the meeting that challenge through renewable energy technology.


Green Party, North Down