Sunday Life

Dual-language sign sparks a war of words

23 January 2005

A row has erupted over a bilingual sign on one of the only streets in Downpatrick without any HOUSES!

The DUP has called on Down District Council to explain why the dual-language sign has been erected in Pound Lane ('Lana an Phoba').

Local DUP MLA, Jim Wells, said he was "mystified" by the appearance of the sign in a street that's home to the town's hospital, clinic, GP centre and an old people's residence.

"I have no knowledge of this request coming to the appropriate council committee for approval. It seems strange, if there are no houses in the street," said Mr Wells.

He added the DUP always opposed the erection of bilingual signs for "a foreign language".

And he claimed the language was now seen as "Sinn Fein's language".

However, Down Sinn Fein councillor Eamonn Mac Con Midhe dismissed the jibes.

"The Irish language is not a 'Sinn Fein language'. It is the national language of Ireland and is recognised as such by the EU," he said.

"What are they trying to say - that everyone who spoke the language before Sinn Fein came along were Sinn Feiners? It's nonsense.

"The language was kept alive by enthusiasts, teachers, solicitors and non-republicans. It was then given a big boost by the influx of fluent speakers from the prisons."

He pointed out that all councillors are notified when a request is made for a bilingual street sign to be erected.

"That has always been the policy of the council, and I have no doubt it was followed on this occasion," he added.

A spokeswoman for the council also rejected Mr Wells' claims that the signs had been erected without consultation, and the necessary support of two-thirds of the people on the electoral register for the area.

"Ten people from St John's Home live on the street, and are on the electoral register to vote.

"As in any case where a request is made for the erection of dual street signs, we ask individuals, in confidence, for their opinion. The sign was erected as a result," she said.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?