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SDLP hostility to Irish Language exposed again – Mhic Giolla Mhín

10 October, 2008

Sinn Fein councillor Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhin has reacted angrily after the 3 SDLP councillors on Belfast City Council's Health and Environment Committee voted, at their meeting on Wednesday 8th October, against the continuation of a pilot scheme on bilingual street signage whereby any application submitted through local elected representatives progressed directly to survey stage.
The 4 Sinn Fein councillors present, Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhin, Maire Cush, Gerard O'Neill and Tiarna Cunningham all voted in favour of the scheme continuing while the 5 unionists and 1 Alliance member voted against.
This left the vote at 6-4 against and if the 3 SDLP councillors, Cathal Mulligan, Peter O'Reilly and Niall Kelly had voted in favour of the extension of the pilot scheme it would have been carried by 7 votes to 6.
Councillor Mhic Giolla Mhin said:
'This pilot scheme allowed councillors to trigger the survey stage of the bilingual signage process which meant that the council would then automatically send out letters to homes in a particular street asking residents if they would like bilingual signage erected.
'There was no logical reason for the SDLP to vote against the continuation of the pilot scheme for a further 12 months.
'The erection of dual language street signs across Belfast is something that should be welcomed and supported by all those who value and seek to promote the Irish language.
'Yet again we have seen the SDLP acting in a totally contradictory fashion and their actions give succour to those who would seek to oppose equality for the Irish language and who would oppose an Acht na Gaeilge.'
'Sinn Fein will continue to campaign and battle for equality for our native language.'

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