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Bill to change boat's name from Irish to English just £300

By Rebecca Black

Published 20/10/2016

The Fisheries vessel Banrion Uladh, which was renamed Queen of Ulster by DUP Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen
The Fisheries vessel Banrion Uladh, which was renamed Queen of Ulster by DUP Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen
The Fisheries vessel Banrion Uladh, which was renamed Queen of Ulster by DUP Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen

It cost just £302 to change the name of a Fisheries vessel from Banrion Uladh to the Queen of Ulster, it can be revealed.

Yesterday it was reported that the bill for the anglicisation of the name was almost £7,000.

However, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said the change of name was carried out during the boat's annual servicing, which in total cost £6,835.

A DAERA spokesperson said: "The change of lettering was carried out at a scheduled annual maintenance event involving repairs, repainting and anti-fouling. The total cost of these works was £6,835. This included a cost of £302 for updated signage."

The Belfast Telegraph revealed last month that DUP Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen had changed the name of the vessel to its English equivalent. The boat's purpose is to patrol the Irish Sea as far south as Anglesey and as far north as Lough Foyle, carrying officials with powers to board fishing boats to check if they are complying with EU quotas. It was launched in 2010 by then Sinn Fein Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew, and its Irish name, which translates as Queen of Ulster, sparked annoyance among DUP MLAs.

After becoming DUP Agriculture Minister this year, Ms McIlveen ordered the name to be changed to Queen of Ulster, which in turned sparked Sinn Fein fury.

At the time Ms McIlveen explained: "The change of lettering was carried out at a scheduled annual maintenance event involving repairs, repainting and anti-fouling.

"DAERA is a new department with a fresh identity and logo and adopts a single language policy. There have consequently been some necessary adaptations to assets transferring to the new department," she said.

"The name of the patrol vessel was a matter for the former minister at DARD (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) Michelle Gildernew and was not an issue for consultation."

Irish language group Pobal slammed the name change as a "sad and petty action".

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