Northern Ireland news

Protest in Belfast calls on city council to introduce city-wide bilingualism policy

Pupils from Bunscoil Phobail Feirste protest outside the Andersonstown Leisure Centre site calling for bilingual signage in the centre when it opens next year Picture Mal McCann.
Marie Louise McConville

School children took part in a protest in west Belfast today calling on the city council to erect dual-language signage at two new leisure centres currently under construction in nationalist areas.

Organised by Irish language campaign network An Dream Dearg, the protest outside Andersonstown Leisure Centre was held to highlight the need and community support for bilingual signs in the new council facility and also at Brook Leisure Centre.

Last year, Belfast city council voted in favour of supporting an Irish language Act and have in recent years introduced both a linguistic diversity policy and an Irish language development officer.

However, the Irish language organisation wants the Irish language visible in the new leisure facilities as part of a city-wide bilingualism policy

The protest, which involved children from Bunscoil Pobal Feirste, took place a week before a motion is due to go before Belfast city council calling for it to "proceed with the erection of dual language in both of these centres immediately".

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, spokesman for An Dream Dearg, said it was "hugely disappointing that Belfast city council has not yet agreed dual language signage for the new leisure facilities currently under construction".

Pupils from Bunscoil Phobail Feirste protest outside the Andersonstown Leisure Centre site calling for bilingual signage in the centre when it opens next year Picture Mal McCann.

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