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Kearney to challenge Council on Irish language signage

20 June, 2019 - by Declan Kearney

Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney has said he will meet with the Chief Executive of Antrim and Newtownabbey Council to demand that the proposed legal action against an 85-year-old pensioner in Randalstown, over the erection of an Irish language sign, should be immediately withdrawn.

Mr Kearney said:

“Sinn Féin has asked the Antrim and Newtownabbey Council CEO for an urgent meeting regarding the outrageous council decision to threaten a local pensioner with legal action unless an Irish language sign on her property is removed. I and our Sinn Féin group on Antrim and Newtownabbey Council will meet the CEO at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss this disgraceful situation.

“The action taken by the council is an absolute scandal, and disrespectful to the Irish language, and to Irish language speakers. It is further evidence why Irish language rights must be entrenched and protected in an Irish Language Act/Acht Gaeilge in the north of Ireland.

“However, this council also has form in this regard. Last year Antrim and Newtownabbey Council adopted an ‘English Only’ policy which was challenged directly in the courts. The judge ruled it was unlawful and should be rescinded.

“The fact is that huge numbers of ratepayers in Randalstown and throughout Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough identify as Irish citizens, they use the Irish language in their daily lives and see the language as a tangible manifestation of their Irish national and cultural identity.

“That is the message which I and the Sinn Féin council group will deliver  to the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough CEO.

“We will be demanding that the threatened legal action against this ratepayer is withdrawn and that the practice of disrespect by Antrim and Newtownabbey Council against the Irish language and ratepayers who are Irish citizens is finally ended.” 

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