MEA councillors vote to block Irish language legislation

The Braid, Ballymena.
The Braid, Ballymena.

A motion to oppose Irish language legislation has been passed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Proposed and seconded by TUV councillors Timothy Gaston and Ruth Wilson, the motion was brought before last night's meeting of the local authority in The Braid, Ballymena.

It read: "That this Council, noting the existing lavish provision for Irish language interests, opposes any attempt, under any legislative guise, to make Irish an official language in Northern Ireland or to require to be treated on a par with English, either in the council or elsewhere, believing such would create massive public expenditure, and a clear disadvantage to the non-Irish speaking majority and prove needlessly divisive across the community."

The motion was passed with 27 votes for, and seven against.

Sinn Féin councillor Patrice Hardy indicated her party would be seeking details of expenditure by the council on the Irish language from MEA Chief Executive, Anne Donaghy.

"This motion highlights the total lack of respect and understanding for the Irish language, culture and identity," she added.

"It is a further demonstration for the widespread hostility by political unionism to the Irish language. It is an example if one was needed as to why we need legislative protection and an Irish language act."