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16/06/2017

Equality Commission To Investigate Irish Language Bursary Scheme Decision

The Equality Commission has confirmed it is to carry out an investigation following a decision by the Department of Communities to withdraw funding from an Irish language bursary scheme.

Around £50,000 funding was withdrawn from the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme, which offers Irish language scholarships to young people, however it has now been reversed.

DUP MLA Paul given was Communities Minister at the time.

A report will be issued when the investigation has been concluded.

Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney said: "The scrapping of the Líofa scheme was an appalling decision and contributed significantly towards the collapse of power-sharing as it was widely seen within the nationalist community as a blatant sectarian and cynical act.
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"Similarly, the operation of the £1.9m Community Halls scheme has raised widespread public concern, given that the vast majority of the beneficiaries were from the unionist tradition. 

"I have previously addressed this matter and pointed at real concerns which exist regarding the practice of institutionalised bigotry directing public policy and disbursal of public funds.

"There needs to be integrity in government.

"The public needs to have confidence that public money is allocated fairly and on the basis of need not creed. 

"It is essential that public policy and the direction of funds and resources are based upon objective need criteria. This investigation is a very important process to ensure transparency and accountability are brought to bear on how these decisions have been made."

(CD)


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