July 1, 2020
Delay on Irish language rights must end – Beattie

Sinn Féin Party Group Leader on Belfast City Council has called on political parties to stop delaying the implementation of rights for the Irish language community following the Alliance Party, Green Party and DUP again uniting to defer a vote on a new bilingual signage policy for the council.

Speaking Councillor Beattie said:

“Across the North, many Councils are moving to relax bilingual street signage policies.“Belfast City Council has one of the most restrictive policies of any council in the North in regards to bilingual street signage policy.

”At present, 2/3rds of the total electorate in the street need to consent. If a letter is not returned or the resident responds without expressing an opinion for and against this response is considered by the Council as a rejection of bilingual signage proposal.

”This evening, Sinn Féin proposed to relax this restrictive policy and to make the process much more fair. 

“We proposed that to have bilingual signage install, it would require 50+1% of the street to agree and for non-respondents and responses which don’t express an opinion to be considered void.

”Unfortunately, the Alliance Party, DUP and Green Party have again united to defer a vote on this proposal.

“It is particularly concerning that the Green Party have been proactive in the denial of rights for the Irish language community in Belfast giving that party colleague Catherine Martin has been appointed Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht in the 26 Counties.

“This is vendetta against the Irish language community by parties in Belfast City Council and their ongoing refusal to implement rights for the Irish language community is shameful.

“I am calling on those parties that claim to support rights for the Irish language community to get off the fence and turn words into action.

“Belfast City Council’s language strategy refers to increasing the visibility of the Irish Language in our city. We must do more than pay lip service to this.”Sinn Féin will continue to work proactively within Belfast City Council to ensure that this issue is resolved.”

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