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Ó Donnghaile expresses shock at east Belfast Alliance Councillors attack on the Irish Language

11 January, 2011

Sinn Féin Pottinger Representative Niall Ó Donnghaile has expressed his ‘shock’ at the stance taken by the Alliance party in relation to the Department of Regional Development’s consultation document on bilingual signage.

Speaking after Alliance Councillor Judith Cochrane referred to the plan as ‘ghettoising’ the north, Mr Ó Donnghaile said;

“I have to say I am somewhat shocked at the views expressed by the Alliance party in relation to the DRD’s consultation plans for bilingual signage.

Firstly they are inaccurate when they claim that the DRD Minister will be allocating resources to this plan, when in actual fact local government authorities will have responsibility for its implementation. This inaccuracy highlights just how quickly the Alliance Party were to come out and attack the consultation without even seeking the views of community, voluntary or social organisations as local business’ who operate through Irish.

This is the Regional Development Minister implementing his obligations under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, something which other Ministers, including the Alliance Party’s own, could learn from.

I find it difficult to believe that the Alliance state that this plan would “ghettoise” the north; are they saying for example, that the Gaeltacht Quarter in west Belfast is a ghetto because is chooses to operate through the medium of Irish? Is the Shaws Road Gaeltacht a ghetto? Are those of us in the Short Strand who choose to live our lives through Irish and promote the Language through signage etc, creating a ghetto?

I think Cllr Cochrane has some explaining to do; her statement is reminiscent of a TUV rant as opposed to being from a party allegedly so fervent in their support for a ‘shared future’. I take it from Cllr Cochrane’s remarks their ‘shared future’ will be a bland, sterile one which doesn’t seek to include, promote or highlight Irelands rich and diverse cultural heritage.” CRÍOCH

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