First Irish street signs to be erected in Antrim and Newtownabbey Council area

Three dual-language signs will go up in Newtownabbey following a successful application

Bawnmore Grove in Newtownabbey.
Bawnmore Grove in Newtownabbey.

Newtownabbey is to have its first Irish language street signs after applications were approved by councillors.

Dual language signs, one in Irish and another in English, will be displayed at Bawnmore Grove, Bawnmore Place and Newton Gardens in Newtownabbey, after at least two thirds of residents said they were in favour of the erection of a second language street sign, in line with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council policy.

Applications have also been made to the council for Irish language signs at Finlay Park, Glenville Mews, Bawnmore Terrace and Mount Street.

These have progressed to the second stage in the application process, which means canvass letters were set to have been issued to residents on January 15 with a response to the council due by January 19. The outcome of the postal canvass is expected to be reported to councillors at the February meeting of the local authority.

The move comes as legal action is being taken in another council area over the failure to erect dual language following an application.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has not erected the signage at Woodside Hill in the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road area of Portadown, prompting a resident to begin legal action against the local authority after claiming the application was rejected despite meeting the required support criteria.

A proposal to approve the new street signs at Bawnmore Grove, Bawnmore Place and Newtown Gardens in Newtownabbey was put forward by Glengormley Sinn Féin councillor Eamonn McLaughlin and seconded by party colleague Maighréad Ní Chonghaile.

The signs will now be installed at the three locations at a cost of £500 each.

15 percent of a street can get an Irish Language signs in Belfast Picture by Hugh Russell.
A dual-language street sign in Belfast PICTURE: HUGH RUSSELL

Commenting on social media, Macedon Sinn Féin councillor Taylor McGrann said: “I welcome this historic step forward as the first ever dual language street signs pass in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.“

An application for dual language street signs must be supported by a petition representing at least one-third of residents and must have the backing of the council before it can proceed to the next stage of canvassing residents by post to seek their views.

The policy states two-thirds or more of all those canvassed must indicate they are in favour of the erection of a second language street sign before the application can be brought before the council for a decision.