The Head of Community Development and Leisure presented the above report, previously circulated to Members. The purpose of the report was to provide clarification for Members regarding the level of responses received during the consultation and to explain the rationale for the reference to the report entitled Protestant Migration from the West Bank of Derry/Londonderry 1969-1980, by Dr Ulf Hansson and Dr Helen McLaughlin, commissioned by the Pat Finucane Centre and to seek Members’ approval of the Draft Good Relations Strategy and Plan 2018-2021.
He stated that regarding any other relevant actions that had not been included in the report, there would be a forthcoming action plan linked to Executive Office funding for 2019/2022. He noted that the action plan is to be developed at the request of the Executive Office and Members’ comments would be invited.
Alderman McClintock thanked Officers for the report. She stated that it was extremely important that the Good Relations strategy was agreed and bought into by the entire community. She explained that her repeated requests regarding the reference to the Pat Finucane Report was due to the fact that the broader Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist (PUL) community did not give the same credence to the report compared to the Nationalist community which she felt had in some ways, damaged good relations. She stated that she had repeatedly questioned the reference to the Irish Language being promoted in the PUL community and still did not have the information regarding the number of respondents who had requested it. She queried that if only one or two had responded why it had been necessary to particularly mention it in the report. She stated that this was a clear equality issue and if the PUL Community are to embrace the Irish Language then the Nationalist community should be given the opportunity to embrace the Ulster Scots culture and tradition.
She felt that public money should not be wasted on what may just be a throw away comment from one or two people regarding the PUL community embracing the Irish language and that the PUL community would be reassured that resources would be targeted for equality towards the Ulster Scots tradition. She stated that this was a prime objective of the collective PUL grouping who were currently exploring every avenue to secure a dedicated PUL outreach co-ordinator/policy worker. She emphasised the importance moving forward to embrace all the opportunities and to understand the crucial issues affecting the Protestant community including, but not limited to, the exodus. She stated that many people within the PUL community felt that there have been attempts to dilute the importance of those issues. She thanked the Head of Community Development and Leisure for the reassurance that an action plan would be developed and whilst she understood the importance of finalising the good relations strategy it was important that there was assurance from Members and Officers that cognisance would be given to the points raised.
Recommended that (i) Members note the content of this report in relation to the level of responses received during the consultation and to explain the rationale for the reference to the report entitled Protestant Migration from the West Bank of Derry/Londonderry 1969-1980, by Dr Ulf Hansson and Dr Helen McLaughlin, commissioned by the Pat Finucane Centre and (ii) Members approve the Draft Good Relations Audit, Strategy and Action Plan 2018-21.