Thursday, 1 July 2010

Mair haul wi Ulster-Scotch than ye wid ken fae tha papers

Ulster-Scots has become a standard media punching bag over the years that it is a wonder those of us with an interest simply didn't give up the ghost years ago. The actions of certain public bodies, beyond the community's control, have done little to help either. Yet a new survey by NISRA of public attitudes shows that broad public support remains good. It showed:

Forty-three percent of respondents agreed with the statement ‘Ulster-Scots is a valuable part of the culture of Northern Ireland’. Sixteen percent disagreed with this statement

Slightly over two-fifths (41%) of respondents mentioned the reason preventing them from attending more Ulster-Scots events was that they were not really interested. One-fifth (20%) said the reason for not attending more Ulster-Scots events was because they were not publicised enough.

Nearly a half (49%) of respondents agreed with the statement ‘Ulster-Scots plays an important part in the history and heritage of Northern Ireland’. Fifteen percent disagreed with this view.

Almost a half (48%) of respondents agreed with the statement “Learning about Ulster-Scots traditions in the school curriculum has educational value. A little over a fifth (21%) of respondents disagreed with this claim.

Nearly three-fifths (59%) of respondents thought children should have the option to study Ulster-Scots history and 46% believed they should be able to choose to learn about Ulster-Scots culture.

Even on the much attacked language issue just under one in five had an interest:

Eighteen percent of all respondents said that they would like to learn more about the Ulster-Scots language. Of these respondents, 56% indicated they would like to learn more about it through local courses.

With all surveys in Northern Ireland it is unwise to read too much into precise figures but there is a persistence in the answers that those who are accepting of Ulster-Scots significantly outnumber those who are opposed to it.

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