News

Record number of Irish signs requested.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

AMID the ongoing debate around Irish language and its importance in the re-establishment of the Assembly, the local council has received a record number of applications for dual language nameplates.

Eleven applications were received by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for the street signs, which will appear in both English and Irish.

A number of these signs have already been erected within the district, having met the criteria set by the council.

As of early August the majority of the 11 applications received came from residents in Kilcoo, as well as Castlewellan and Newcastle.

The five roads in Kilcoo were Drumlee Road, Drumena Road, Largy Road, Mill Road and Blackthorn Close.

Applications were also made in relation to Mourne Park and Mourne Gardens in Castlewellan, Trassey Road in Newcastle, Ardfern Close in Downpatrick, Drumnaconagher Road, Crossgar and The Valley in Mullaghbawn.

The annual budget set aside by the council for the supply and installation of street nameplates in 5000.

"Newry, Mourne and Down District Council confirms that all 11 requests for dual language nameplates referred to were received early August 2017," said a spokesperson.

"The level of requests received at this time was higher than normal and, despite some objections being received, the approval criteria was met." Indeed, residents on Trassey Road, Bryansford objected to the dual language nameplates on their road.

Former UUP councillor on Down District Council Dessie Patterson said he received a letter from the council, which was sent to all residents.

"You could tick yes or no, and personally I ticked no. I think they are a totalwaste of money," he said.

"There is a lot of international visitors coming into the country and dual language signs do not help them. If they don't understand Irish, it is only going to lead to confusion." However, while the sign has not yet been put in place, Mr Patterson said he was "not surprised" the approval criteria had been met.

"From a business point of view, these international visitors coming in will not understand Irish.

"We all know that Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is pushing Irish right, left and centre and it's a predominantly nationalist council, so there is not verymuch we can do about it. But whether the sign gets left alone, is another story.

"There was an incident here recently where some drivers were doing 'doughnuts' on the road and they crashed into and brought down the road signs and tourist signs that are here. So with that happening, it's hard to say how long any sign will last.

"I have nothing against the Irish language but I think it's a total waste of money. There are much more important things they could be putting the money into."

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