Unionist call for Ulster-Scots over bilingual cemetery signs fails

Ulster Unionist Councilor Bert Wilson

Funding for the Lough Erne Pilgrimage Trail enabled the council to employ a dedicated project officer to lead the implementation of the bilingual cemetery signage initiative.

The role is specifically focused on the trail, which includes a number of ancient sites, including cemeteries.

The issue of the signs was discussed at a recent regeneration committee and community meeting, with all but the support of the DUP.

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Last month the Irish and Ulster Scots Language Policy Task Force met to discuss signage in ancient graveyards and the council’s approach to signage in its area .

Recognizing that there was no political position on the use of bilingual signage, group members concluded that it would be appropriate for the names of signs in old cemeteries to be in both English and Irish.

Councilor Chris McCaffrey (Sinn Fein) said: “Many words and meanings have been lost through the anglicisation of Irish place names.

“If the original Irish is not known, or shown on maps or other documents, it is very difficult to go back and find it.

“Obviously I want to see Irish promoted in the district across all communities. The language is for everyone.

Ulster Unionist councilor Bert Wilson asked if there would be an additional cost to ratepayers, and although he was not opposed to Irish, he felt that Ulster Scots should also be included.

He said: “No one seems to have any idea of ​​the cost, in staff time and financial constraints. Taxpayers want to know what they are going to have to pay for something that many of them don’t want.

Translation services advised by the Managing Director will be provided free of charge by Placenames NI, and the signs will cost approximately £350 each.

DUP adviser Mark Buchanan said his party ‘would be happy for English only [signs]”.

He continued: “We don’t need the Irish language. Or if we go with the Irish it should be the Ulster Scots too.


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