Charged for speaking Irish

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A man who gave his name and address in Irish to police has been charged with an offence under terrorism legislation.

Dermot Douglas, of Cardiffs Bridge Road, Finglass, is charged with failing to answer a question to the best of his knowledge on March 6.

The charge is under the controversial Justice and Security Act.

Defence solicitor Brian Stelfox said his client came out of a house in Derry and was stopped by police. He was asked to give his details and when replied in Irish he was arrested. The 49-year-old was offered a caution but he refused it.

Mr Stelfox said his client is contesting the charge and believes he is entitled to an interpreter for the court proceedings.

He added his client did not accept the caution because ‘he feels on principle that he has complied with the legislation’.

District Judge Barney McElholm said ‘what if he had been Romanian or Chinese’.

He agreed that Douglas would be entitled to an interpreter ‘with due consideration to the public purse’.

The 49-year-old will appear in court again on May 1.