'Use of Irish in Northern Ireland courts is inevitable,' says first Belfast lawyer to qualify to take on Irish language cases
A Belfast-based lawyer has achieved a landmark qualification to appear in cases being held in the Irish language.
Michael Flanigan is the first member of the profession from Northern Ireland to obtain a diploma in Legal Practice through Irish.
The solicitor graduated last week from the course run by King's Inns in Dublin - Ireland's oldest school of law.
He predicted that his qualification will be put to use in courts north of the border in future.
"The course was really interesting, it was nice to see well known legal terms and phrases translated into the Irish language and to then use them in mock trials and applications," he said.
"The use of Irish in the courts in Northern Ireland is inevitable and I look forward to being able to put the skills learned during the course into practice in the courts."
Mr Flanigan is also representing a west Belfast woman in a continuing legal challenge to being denied Irish signs on her street.
Eileen Reid is contesting Belfast City Council's block on dual-language signs at Ballymurphy Drive.
Last December a High Court judge rejected claims that the policy is unlawful and in breach of an obligation to promote Irish.
But an appeal against the verdict is set to be heard later this year.