Bilingual bus signage proposed for Derry services

Sinn Fein's Kevin Campbell, Maeve McLaughlin and Colly Kelly have been campaigning for Irish language signage.
Sinn Fein's Kevin Campbell, Maeve McLaughlin and Colly Kelly have been campaigning for Irish language signage.
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Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed Translink’s launch of public consultation on piloting the display of bilingual Irish and English destination signage in Derry.

Translink have said they are reviewing the potential to use bilingual destination screens using both English and Irish language on bus destination screens on Ulsterbus Foyle City Services operating in Derry.

The company have said: “Initially we would propose to pilot the initiative on services operating on the Slievemore route.

“If successful there is potential to roll out to other routes across the City.”

A spokesperson for Translink added: “This initiative is a way to celebrate traditional place names in the city and their meaning while also helping to support local tourism through a unique visitor experience.”

Councillor Campbell said: “This is great news. Sinn Féin have been lobbying on this issue for a number of years in Derry and have held a number of meetings with Transport NI and have raised this with successive Transport Ministers on this issue.

“I and party representatives Maeve McLaughlin and Colly Kelly met with the senior management of Translink in the Derry office at Foyle Street bus depot back in February 2015 to discuss our request that a bilingual destination signage pilot scheme be established for the Derry area.

“In November just past I wrote to the Minister Chris Hazzard and I outlined our request for a pilot scheme.

“I believe this is doable and is achievable at very little cost.

“Translink bus services operating in West Belfast have been featuring both English and Irish language signs on destinations screens since 2011. And there has been bilingual passenger information on bus shelter timetables and route information.

“There are hundreds of children going to schools in the city learning through the medium of Irish and hundreds of people of all ages attending night classes and hundreds taking part in cultural musical and sporting activities. This was magnified tenfold when Derry hosted the Fleadh in 2013.

To have bus services using bilingual signage on a number of routes would I believe a very positive and progressive move for the city and would encourage people to take part in this consultation.”

In January of this year the Minister Chris Hazzard had said: “Translink has provided bilingual destination information on buses travelling along Metro corridor 10 in Belfast for some time. This has been well received by those using the services.

“I now want to look at the possibility of introducing similar signage in Irish in Derry city. I believe that the provision of this information would be welcomed by many in the city and would improve access to public services by Irish speakers.

“I have therefore asked Translink to take forward a public consultation on this issue, with a view to signage being in place in May this year. The consultation will formally launch in March following the completion of an Equality Impact Assessment and engagement with key stakeholders. I would urge people to come forward with their views during the upcoming consultation period.”