Bilingual signs campaign completed

The local Kevin Lynch Sinn F�in Cumann, in Park, at one of the bilingual signs erected locally.
The local Kevin Lynch Sinn F�in Cumann, in Park, at one of the bilingual signs erected locally.

The first of a new phase of 18 bilingual rural road signs has been erected at the junction of Carnanreagh and Learmount Roads in Craigbane, County Derry.

The new signs will stretch across Craigbane, Park, Altinure, the Dreen and Tamnagh.

The local Kevin Lynch Sinn Féin Cumann, based in Park, say they spear headed a more than two-year long campaign to introduce a programme of bilingual signage.

One of the organisers of the initiative, George Gormley, said local residents and Sinn Féin members conducted a constructive campaign throughout the area.

“We are now seeing the conclusion of a project which began almost two and a half years ago. Twenty six local roads and streets will exhibit high quality bi-lingual signage. The respective townland and place names in English and Irish will also appear on the signs. There has been tremendous support during this lengthy process which required two plebiscites due to an anomaly in the original council policy,” said Mr Gormley.

George explained this anomaly had differentiated between rural “roads” and “streets”.

“One by product of this project is that a new council policy has been introduced, and all rural areas in the Derry and Strabane council will have the same right to seek bilingual signs as urban dwellers.

“All of this was brought about as a result of a huge collective effort, which included Gerry Ó hÉara of the An Chultúrlann, Cllr. Paul Fleming, and various Council officers, particularly Jim Gallagher. We are very grateful for all their help.”

George believes the new signs will be an attraction for visitors.

“Our campaign has restored the original Irish version of local townland and place names. It will make a great contribution to local knowledge about the ancient Gaelic heritage, earliest settlements and topography of Park and Craigbane,” added Mr Gormley.