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Minister meets Irish Language Group

6 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy today met POBAL to discuss their proposals to ratify more significant and stronger articles in respect of Irish under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The Minister and Janet Muller, Chief Executive of POBAL, the umbrella organisation for the Irish speaking community also discussed the Irish language community's proposals for an Irish Language Act.

The Minister updated Ms Muller on the steps taken by the Department's Roads Service to take forward amending legislation in 2008/09 to enable the Department to prescribe traffic signs in a language other than English. He explained the three types of signs which were being considered for bilingual signing as follows:

  • the erection, by Councils, of town/village place name signs bearing Irish or Ulster-Scots, in addition to English;
  • the display of Irish or Ulster-Scots in addition to English on certain worded supplementary plates to standard warning signs (eg 'School'), if requested by the manager of the premises; and
  • the inclusion, in consultation with NI Tourist Board, of Irish or Ulster-Scots (in addition to English) on signs funded by private premise owners (eg tourist destinations, churches, schools and certain commercial premises), in close proximity to the destination.

"I was glad to hear the views of POBAL and the community it represents on a range of important issues, and I will take these into account in the future," said the Minister.

"As Minister for Regional Development, it is important that I take into account the views of all the people of the region and try to reflect them in the decisions I make. I would encourage POBAL and any other groups with views on minority languages to take every opportunity to make their views known to public representatives and departments." ENDS

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