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Boat's Irish name removal is DUP department's only name change

The name of fisheries boat 'Banríon Uladh' has been changed to 'Queen of Ulster'
Brendan Hughes

A PATROL boat's translation from Irish to English is the only asset name change a DUP department has made under its "single-language policy".

Nationalists expressed anger last month when it emerged the vessel's name 'Banríon Uladh' had been changed to its English translation 'Queen of Ulster'.

DUP minister Michelle McIlveen said her department had a "single-language policy" and "there have consequently been some necessary adaptations to assets".

For weeks the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) has refused to say whether any other assets have been changed due to the policy.

However, the minister has now confirmed that no other assets' names have been altered.

"The fisheries protection vessel is the only asset that has had its name changed since the formation of Daera," the minister said.

The SDLP's Patsy McGlone, who received the answer in response to a written assembly question, said: "This entire saga has revealed the pettiness and insecurity of the DUP.

"While our farming and agri-food sectors have been thrown into turmoil by the DUP and their Little-England Brexit agenda, the minister has busied herself with naming boats."

The department recently moved to confirm that it cost £302 to change the boat's name.

It said the new lettering was carried out at a "scheduled annual maintenance event" that in total cost £6,835.

The boat was originally named by then Sinn Féin agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew after it was bought in 2010.

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