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Irish language rights cannot be placed on long finger - Beattie

19 June, 2020 - by Ciarán Beattie

Sinn Féin Party Group Leader on Belfast City Council has called on political parties to stop putting rights for the Irish language community on the long finger following the Alliance Party, Green Party and DUP uniting to defer a vote on a new bilingual signage policy for the council.


Speaking Councillor Beattie said:


“Belfast City Council has one of the most restrictive policies of any council in the North in regards to bilingual street signage policy.


“At present, 2/3rds of the total electorate in the street need to consent. If a letter is not returned or the resident responds without expressing an opinion for and against this response is considered by the Council as a rejection of bilingual signage proposal.


“Sinn Féin proposed to amend the bilingual street signage policy to require 50+1% of the street to agree and for non-respondents and responses which don’t express an opinion to be considered void.


“Unfortunately, the Alliance Party, DUP and Green Party united to defer a vote on this proposal.


“This is shameful and again reflects a refusal of these parties within council to deal with this rights-based issue.


“Rights and recognition for the Irish language community cannot be put on the long finger. This is unacceptable and cannot continue.


“There is no space for fence sitting on rights, you either support rights and recognition for the Irish language community or you do not.


“Belfast City Council’s language strategy refers to increasing the visibility of the Irish Language in our city. We must do more than pay lip service to this.

"Sinn Féin will continue to work proactively within Belfast City Council to ensure that this issue is resolved." 

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