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Belfast City Council gives green light to bilingual street signs

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Belfast City Council has voted to adopt a new policy on bilingual street signs.

The policy will make it easier for residents to apply for an Irish language street sign where they live.

It requires one resident or their local councillor to come forward with the request to erect a bilingual street sign.

If this gains the support of 15% of residents on the electoral register it would go forward for approval by the council.

Although Irish is the most popular choice for an alternative language in Belfast, applications can be made for any language including Ulster Scots and Chinese.

The plan was backed by a committee in October and was approved by the full council on Thursday night.

The cost of putting up a dual-language sign in the city is estimated at about £1,000.

Split among political parties

Sinn Féin councillor Séanna Walsh said his party's proposal had been put forward "after widespread consultation".

"Belfast has been central to the ongoing growth of the Irish language and Gaelige is part of the fabric of our city as seen with the vibrant Gaeltacht quarter and the growing numbers of unionists now embracing and learning the language," he said.

"This new and progressive bilingual street signage policy will ensure that this growth continues and is represented in our street signage."

However, DUP councillors alongside representatives from the UUP and PUP opposed the move.

A DUP spokesperson said the policy was "grossly unfair and unbalanced".

"Many people regard the addition of an Irish street sign as cultural branding of their area," the spokesperson said.

"For all those who are passionate about having their street name added in Irish, there are as many people who are passionate about not having this done against their wishes."

Related Topics

  • Belfast City Council

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