CLAIM: “The DUP at no point has ever agreed to establish an Irish Language Act with the UK government, with the Irish government, with Sinn Féin or anybody else.”
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. The St Andrew’s Agreement committed the UK Government to an Irish Language Act, but subsequent legislation compelled the Northern Ireland Executive to produce a strategy (which may or may not include an Irish Language Act). Continue reading TheJournal.ie: Did the DUP really never commit to an Irish Language Act?
CLAIM: Northern Ireland were once net contributors of revenue to HM Treasury.
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. The claim is true up until the 1930s. But data show that Northern Ireland has run a fiscal deficit since 1966. The most recent figure, from 2013-14, is a subvention of £9.2 billion. Continue reading How dependent is Stormont on Westminster subvention?
CLAIM: Under an Alliance Minister of Justice, crime rates in Northern Ireland are lower.
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. According to PSNI reports, annual offences covering the relevant period are marginally higher (105,289 versus 105,040). Meanwhile, crime in Northern Ireland has been rising every year since 2012/13. Continue reading Is crime on the rise in Northern Ireland?
CLAIM: Since 2011 the Sinn Féin Education Minister John O’Dowd has “improved educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged”, and consequently “58.5% of children receiving Free School Meals (FSM) now obtain 5 GCSEs A*-C, compared to 31.5% previously.”
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. The claim fails to distinguish between students that are eligible for FSM, as opposed to those who actually receive them. However, once corrected for this inaccuracy, it can be substantiated and verified by data from the Department of Education. In fact, there have been even greater improvements in performance among Free School Meal Eligible (FSME) students. Continue reading Has Sinn Fein Education Minister improved outcomes for most disadvantaged?
CLAIM: The ‘NI – Our Time, Our Place’ campaign in 2012 helped to attract 1,000,000 visitors to Northern Ireland and brought £40 million to the local economy.
CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. This claim relies on a report by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, without research methodology or sources provided. Other evidence demonstrates a growing trend in visitor numbers. The ‘NI – Our Time, Our Place’ campaign may have made a positive contribution. However, Northern Ireland still lags behind other economies in the region. Continue reading Did the ‘NI 2012 – Our Time, Our Place’ campaign help bring in one million visitors?