Residents of a Drumsurn development say if their street is to be named bi-lingually they want it named in Greek, Ulster Scots and French as well.
Limavady Council consulted residents of Donalds Hill Court in the village about naming their street bi-lingually. Of the 30 residents 22 valid replies were returned, with 12 in favour of a bi-lingual sign and 10 against.
Subsequently, a number of residents, according to Council, requested in the “interests of inclusivity the street name also be erected in Ulster Scots, French and Greek. Council says it will now carry out a further consultation exercise.”
Meantime, nine signs - six in Drumsurn and three in Dungiven - will be named bi-lingually in a move defended by nationalists after unionists voted against it. Some unionist councillors claimed it was “politically motivated”, “unecessary” and “something most people can’t even read”, but Sinn Féin Colr. Brenda Chivers has hit back, saying it is the “correct decision”.
“The Irish language is one of the oldest languages known to man and has being undergoing a revival recently as more and more people are deciding to use the language in everyday use,” she said.
“I was sad that the Unionist Councillor opposed this motion as the language threatens no-one and in fact it was the Presbyterian Church that helped protect the Irish language when it was under threat from becoming a dead language
“The decision to support those residents that would like their street names in Irish is the correct decision. People will find that when they discover the Irish name that it comes along with a story or is a description of the area or townland. It is important that the language revival is encouraged and putting place names in Irish can only encourage people to learn their use their native tongue.”
SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle said it wasn’t a waste of money and to say most people can’t read Irish is “untrue”.
“It’s about giving people a choice,” he said. “It would be wrong for us, as Council, not to give other people the choice of another language. It is the people who live on the streets who requested this. It wasn’t Sinn Fein who brought the policy in to Council. It was the SDLP.”
He added: “It was never envisaged that Greek or French were ever going to be used on street signs, but it shows the depth of feeling some people have about street signs.”