Northern Ireland news

£300 bill to change name on fisheries boat from Irish to English

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

A Stormont department said yesterday it cost £302 to change the name of a fisheries patrol boat from Irish into English.

Nationalists reacted angrily last month when news of the name change was revealed by new agriculture minister Michelle McIlveen.

The DUP politician said the Irish Sea vessel 'Banríon Uladh' would now be known by its English translation 'Queen of Ulster'.

She said the decision was taken because the new Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, which incorporates the former Sinn Fein-run Department of Agriculture, had a "fresh identity" and a "single language policy".

Responding to an assembly question earlier this week, the department said the change of lettering was carried out at a "scheduled annual maintenance event" which cost a total of £6,835.

SDLP assembly member Patsy McGlone said it was "ridiculous" to waste taxpayers' money making the "petty" change.

The Irish News asked yesterday for a breakdown of the bill to establish the cost of the name change alone.

A spokesman for the department said: "The change of lettering was carried out at a scheduled annual maintenance event involving repairs, repainting and antifouling. The total cost of these works was £6,835.

"This included a cost of £302 for updated signage."

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

* A caption in a report about the boat yesterday wrongly referred to agriculture minister Michelle McIlveen as former minister Michelle Gildernew.

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