Meeting sought over bilingual signs

Lobbyists pressing for the erection of bilingual signs on roads in Co. Derry are looking for an urgent meeting with City Council chief

executive Sharon O’Connor.

It’s emerged that plans for English-Irish signage on roads in the Claudy, Craigbane and Park districts could be delayed because Derry City

Council policy does not recognise them as streets.

The issue arose after 28 requests were made to the Council for bilingual signage for streets in these areas.

In line with Council policy, plebiscites were held to gauge the views of local residents and 26 of these requests secured the necessary 66 per cent or more approval required to erect the signs.

However, because of an anomaly between Council’s street naming policy and Northern Ireland-wide legislation, 19 of the requests may not get the go ahead as they are connected with areas not recognised as streets by Council.

The legislation defines a street as a road, square, court alley, passage or lane while the Council’s definition adds that a street must have a

“more or less continuous and regular row of houses.”

This would mean that many roads in rural areas of Derry would not be regarded as streets by Council because they do not have a continuous row of houses.

Approval has been recommended for seven streets in the area to get bilingual signage - Laurel Hill Cottages, Millside Crescent, Sycamore

Heights, Bushfield Mill, Altinure Cottages, Glenrainne Gardens, and Slieveboy Park.

One of the lobbyists said: “It is a source of considerable disappointment that Derry City Council, during City of Culture year, has been apparently unable to progress this issue more positively to date.”

It’s understood a decision on the remaining 19 applications and the anomaly between the legislation and the Council policy will be discussed by Council later this month.