The Irish News today carries a story that Newry and Mourne councillors have voted to name a new block of flats Cois Locha, which translates as Waterside, despite being informed that to so do would be breaking the law.
As it stands the flats should be named in English and an Irish sign can subsequently be erected if a majority of residents wish to do so.Sinn Féin councillor Brendan Lewis said that the legislation was counter to the Good Friday Agreement.
To quote from the article –
“If we are seen to be agreeing to this law then what we are saying for example is that my home village will be no longer known as Camloch but should be called Crooked Lake, which is the English translation,” Mr Lewis said.
One may not agree with the law, but that does not give one an excuse or the right to break the law.
It’s sad that the councillors have chosen this path rather than lobby for change as suggested by SDLP assembly member Dominic Bradley.
Once again the issue of Irish is being used as a political football and this can only reinforce the mistaken perception among many Unionists that the Irish language issue is politically partisan rather than inclusive.