No to Irish and Ulster Scots road signs

Published Friday, 30 March 2012
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The Regional Development Minister has decided that traffic signs in Irish and Ulster Scots will not be introduced across the Northern Ireland roads network.

No to Irish and Ulster Scots road signs
The consultation closed on 11 March. (© Pacemaker)

Danny Kennedy's predecessor in the role launched a consultation last year on a proposal to erect bi-lingual signage in English and one of the two other languages.

These would have included a limited range of tourist signs, supplementary plates to certain warning signs - 'school ahead' for example - and town and village welcome signs.

Mr Kennedy said he has decided not to press ahead with the new signs, as they would lead to extra costs with "no operational need" in "challenging" economic times.

"Following the conclusion of the consultation I have decided not to introduce bi-lingual traffic signs," the UUP minister said.

"This policy proposal, would have resulted in extra costs and serves no operational need for Northern Ireland's road network.

"Given the challenging economic times that we are living in, it is imperative that my Department's limited resources are prioritised and focused on issues that will directly improve the safe and efficient use of the road network."

Mr Kennedy outlined some of his key targets in the coming months

He continued: "As Roads Minister, my aim is to deliver on the agreed priorities set out in the Northern Ireland Executive's Programme for Government where key targets have been set on investment in the strategic road network, road maintenance, public transport and water and sewerage services."

The signage consultation closed on 11 March with 101 responses received by the DRD.

© UTV News
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24 Comments
Ted in belfast wrote (936 days ago):
"the Irish language has become a very political thing and a political weapon" - How so? Who did this and how? I would suggest that Unionists introduced the hatred of all things Irish and the language was one of their targets. "that perception is unlikely to change" - Because it's promoted as such by Unionists. People indeed did subvert it - Unionists did. @R in Belfast - I agree with much of what you say and would just add that you don't spend everything in your budget on health and education, there are other things in life that bring many benefits in terms of culture and tourism.
Mike Bravo in Belfast wrote (936 days ago):
Because Seamus, the Orange Order, as disgusting as it is, is not a public funded organisation. No matter way you swing it, due to the narrow and short minded actions of the past, the Irish language has become a very political thing and a political weapon, that perception is unlikely to change for a long time to come. As a staunch British citizen I would have loved to have seen the Irish language become in Northern Ireland what it is in Whales. But sadly history took a different course and people subverted it.
seamas in belfast wrote (937 days ago):
Why are people so incensed about spending on the Irish language and yet so content to see 5 million a year spent on the Orange Order?
R in Belfast wrote (938 days ago):
It never ceases to amaze me how much fear still lingers in the 'new-age' Northern Ireland with regard to the Irish language. The fact of the matter remains that Irish is a language native to the island of Ireland. To bring in other languages such as Chinese and Polish to the argument is just plain stupid and should be seen for what it is. Just because there are a large number of Polish people living in NI doesn't mean that we are suddenly going to erect road signs in the Polish language. Think about it, around 99% of our town names will not change in any other language and thus the need for such signs wouldn't exist. Secondly, regardless of the number of people who actually speak Irish on a day-to-day-basis, we still must work to protect the language. Sometimes I think if certain people had their way they would just burn all books relating to the language so that they could confine it to history. Also, to those who protest about the cost- yes I completely agree that there are better things that the money should be spent on, but do you really think that they were ever going to change signs? A bit of common sense is needed please, it would obviously only had made sense to provide bilingual signage when erecting completely new signs. And, believe me, adding 'Béal Feirste' (Belfast) or 'Stáisiún an Láir' (Central Station) alongisde English names wouldn't really add much cost, so stop your complaining and go and learn some languages (doesn't need to be Irish!) and broaden your oh-so closed minds and maybe learn a thing or two about your own and others' cultures.
Iain in Belfast wrote (938 days ago):
Great work ther ted, though the amount of people who use it everyday (and lets be honest here, most will be in the south of Ireland) is hardly reason to spend money on it when the cash could be better spent elsewhere. The same goes for Ulster/Scots too. I would rather see it spent on things that everyone can benefit from - hospitals, schools etc. But hey, maybe thats just crazy but I suppose we could just spend on the signs to appease a small fraction of the population. This ain't point scoring you know. Its not about politics or religion, just common sense.
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