Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Members of church say 'no' to Irish nameplate

Parishioners at one of the most photographed country churches in Northern Ireland have "strenuously" objected to a bid to erect Irish nameplates on the road outside the place of worship.

Ballintoy Church of Ireland - perched on the north Antrim coast - is one of the most scenic churches in the country, often pictured with the stunning vista of the sea and Rathlin Island in the background.

Ballintoy was also recently the backdrop for the filming of scenes for the new series of global smash-hit fantasy series, Game of Thrones.

The series has just been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards - the US television version of the Oscars.

But behind the beautiful scenery and peaceful countryside, a bitter debate has been raging over the erection of bilingual signs in the area.

The strong opposition by local residents means that the signs will not now go ahead in the area around the church.

Under current rules, individuals can apply to Moyle Council in nearby Ballycastle to ask for bilingual street signs in either English and Irish or English and Ulster-Scots.

Several Irish signs have already gone up, mostly in the predominantly nationalist Glens and Ballycastle areas, while Ulster-Scots nameplates have appeared in places such as the mainly unionist town of Bushmills and the area leading to the world famous Giant's Causeway.

Now it has emerged that an application was made for bilingual Irish/English signs at Harbour Road, Ballintoy - where the Church of Ireland is situated - but the bid failed because only 36% of respondents on the road were in favour.

This fell short of the necessary two thirds of positive replies, vetoing the proposal.

A Moyle Council report said: "With regard to the proposal in respect of Harbour Road, Ballintoy, it should be noted that a petition was submitted to the Council signed by 47 parishioners of Ballintoy Parish Church strenuously objecting to such a proposal.

"However, only one vote was allowed on behalf of the Church premises."

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