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Minister meets Irish language group

11 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy today met with several Irish language organisations, Conradh na Gaeilge, Pobal and Comhaltas Uladh to discuss the potential to develop an Irish scheme for the department.

The Minister met Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh, President, and Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaelige, Janet Muller, Chief Executive of Pobal, Seán Ó Labhra, President of Comhaltas Uladh and Ruairi O Bleine also of Comhaltas Uladh.

They also discussed the department's recent internal review of compliance with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the changes which have been implemented as a result of that review.

The Minister said:

"Since taking office a number of actions have been agreed including the translation of widely used application forms and information leaflets into Irish, the development of a multi-lingual website for the department and a revised advertising policy.

"This should be viewed as a positive and indeed progressive step forward in our commitment to the Charter and the public we serve as a government department.

"I was glad to hear the views of Conradh na Gaeilge, Pobal and Comhaltas Uladh and the communities they represent and I will take these into account in the future. The department's Roads Service is also looking at taking steps to take forward a policy to prescribe three types of 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.

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