This afternoon I met representatives of the Irish language organisation Pobal. At the present time I am preparing a paper on a minority languages strategy for Northern Ireland and it was an opportunity to hear the views of Janet Muller and her colleagues.
We have two indigenous minority languages in Northern Ireland, Ulster-Scots and Irish, and I said to the folk from Pobal that the nearest situation to that in Northern Ireland was the situation in Scotland, where there are also two indigenous minority languages, Scots and Gaelic. There are differences but there are also similarities, not least the fact that the two minority languages in Ulster are sister languages to the minority languages in Scotland. Scottish Gaelic developed from Irish Gaelic and Ulster-Scots is a variant of Scots.
I also explained that one of my priorities was to promote a shared and better future and that the minority languages strategy would reflect the core principles of that priority, which are equity, diversity and independence.