Belfast Telegraph

Belfast City Hall to display festive messages in English, Irish and Ulster Scots

Belfast City Hall will display three languages this Christmas in a renewed spirit of all-party agreement.

Festive messages in English, Irish and Ulster Scots will adorn the front of the building from November.

It followed a fractious summer; disagreements over regulation of bonfires inside the chamber were followed by trouble on the streets.

Alliance Party councillor Michael Long said: "After a few months of negative publicity at City Hall, I am pleased that the Christmas spirit seems to be alive and well early as all parties have agreed to an Alliance compromise on Christmas lights, which will see signage in English, Irish and Ulster Scots on the front facade of City Hall."

He said it would update the current arrangement which saw English signage on the front and Irish on the side.

"I am delighted that we could reach agreement on this language issue, which has so often in the past resulted in division.

"I would therefore like to be the first to wish you a Happy Christmas, Shona Nollaig and Blythe Yuletide."

The council is seeking a new contractor to enforce its new bonfire policies after the last one quit following this month's violent disorder.

Trouble flared in pockets of nationalist areas as pyres were lit to mark the anniversary of the introduction of internment without trial during the Troubles.

The disturbances, which saw a car torched in the New Lodge area north of the city centre, came after similar unrest the previous night.

Violence first erupted in the Markets area when a council contractor removed wood from a bonfire site. A number of cars were set on fire and police officers were attacked. In the Divis area, a derelict Credit Union building was burned.

A Sinn Fein-tabled motion giving the council authorisation to remove material from bonfire sites it deemed unsafe was passed despite the opposition of unionist councillors.

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