Irish language activists to stage protest

Laganside.
Laganside.

Irish language activists are due to hold a protest outside the High Court tomorrow (Friday) ahead of Judicial Review into a council’s ‘English only’ policy.

The demonstration has been organised in opposition to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s policy in relation to street signs.

In February unionist members voted in favour of the English only policy. It came after a request to the local authority from Abbeyville Residents Association for five street signs to be expressed in Irish.

Irish language activists have launched a Judicial Review to overturn the policy. The judge is set to decide if there is a case to answer.

Glengormley Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Goodman said: “The protest has been organised by rate payers and Irish medium groups in the borough who wish to highlight the denial of their rights by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

“They will be there to support the person who is taking the Judicial Review against the council.”

Cllr Goodman plans to attend the morning demonstration in Belfast.

Meanwhile, an emergency meeting was held last night at Mossley Mill. It was called after Cllr Anne Marie Logue commented on social media regarding the council’s ‘English only’ policy after a discussion held behind closed doors on August 28.

Following August’s meeting, the Sinn Fein representative took to Twitter to comment on the policy.

Cllr Logue said: “Antrim/Newtownabbey Council have been legally forced to revoke their discriminatory ‘English only policy.’ Disgrace that the DUP/UUP have been allowed to get this far.”

The tweet has since been removed.

The motion discussed at Wednesday’s meeting, stated: “Council notes with grave concern the breach of confidentiality relating to item 6.56 at the August meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and refers any breach of confidentiality found by the council’s investigation to the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards as a complaint.”

The motion was passed after a recorded vote was taken.

A council spokesperson said: “At the special meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council on September 5 2018, the council agreed to refer an alleged breach of confidential information to the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards as a complaint.

“However, this decision is subject to the call-in period which ends at noon on Monday.”