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Last Updated: Friday, 14 December 2007, 19:26 GMT
Cead mile failte Kate!
Kate Hoey
Kate Hoey flew back to her native Belfast for this week's Let's Talk
The December edition of Let's Talk was dominated by the politics of sport and Irish language. Stephen Walker watched the last programme of 2007 unfold.

As Labour MP Kate Hoey flew into Belfast to take part in the Let's Talk programme she could have done some research on the plane.

Little did she know that the flying habits of one of the city's newest arrivals would be up for discussion later that day.

Aer Lingus, the latest airline to set up shop in Northern Ireland, has decided to drop the Irish language greeting to passengers on their Belfast flights.

The news hasn't fazed the County Antrim born politician.

"I really couldn't care less," she told the audience. Later adding, "as long as they speak English".

Kate Hoey's indifference wasn't shared by her fellow panellist.

Barbre De Brun, now an MEP, but once a member of the assembly, drew on her previous job.

"If I can get up at Stormont as the Minister for Health and speak in Irish why can't you give an announcement on a plane," she said.

Maze stadium

To George Hook, talk show host and seasoned traveller, the Aer Lingus decision simply didn't make sense.

Hook declared: "This is unadulterated claptrap."

A former rugby coach now turned pundit Hook and Kate Hoey were well placed to tackle another Let's Talk questioner.

Declan Harrison was interested in the ongoing controversy surrounding the Maze stadium plan.

The former sports minister was quick off the mark.

She believed the local football, rugby and Gaelic bodies had all been blackmailed into accepting the Maze project which she warned was fast becoming the Northern Ireland equivalent of the Millennium Dome.

Dawn Purvis, MLA for East Belfast, shared Kate Hoey's concerns and argued that the business case for the Maze had yet to be made.

Predictably, the Belfast politician suggested that her home city should be the venue for any new stadium.

George Hook, rarely lost for words, was prepared to take a vow of silence on one matter.

The Dublin-based broadcaster told the audience he would not dream of telling the people of Northern Ireland where the stadium should go.

He warned though that politicians shouldn't meddle in sporting affairs.

It is too late for that.

Which translates into Irish as ta se ro-deanach.

Which is something you won't hear on an Aer Lingus flight into Belfast.


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