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West Belfast woman to appeal failed legal bid to have Irish signs put up on her street

By Alan Erwin

Published 11/09/2015

Ms Reid is contesting Belfast City Council's block on dual-language signs at Ballymurphy Drive.
Ms Reid is contesting Belfast City Council's block on dual-language signs at Ballymurphy Drive.

A west Belfast woman is to appeal her failed legal bid to have Irish signs put up on her street.

 Senior judges today listed Eileen Reid's challenge to the High Court verdict for hearing later this year.

 Ms Reid is contesting Belfast City Council's block on dual-language signs at Ballymurphy Drive.

 She claims the denial is unlawful and in breach of an obligation to promote Irish.

 Council policy requiring a two-thirds majority of households to declare themselves in favour of a second street name is also unreasonable, according to her case.

 Ms Reid took legal action following a canvass of those living on her street.

 Out of 92 eligible residents, 52 confirmed they wanted Irish signs, with only one opposed.

 But because the other 39 did not respond to the survey the two-thirds requirement was not met.

 During her failed judicial review challenge the court heard that a council policy drawn up in 1995 estimated it would cost around £200,000 to provide second language street plates across the city over a five-year period.

 Another £30,000 a year would be required for additional staff and resources around the administrative systems and procedures.

 Last December a judge dismissed all grounds of challenge.

 At the time Mr Justice Horner stressed he was not concerned with the merits of whether there should be an Irish sign at Ballymurphy Drive.

 He was only examining whether the council's process was lawful.

 The judge described the contention that non-voters should not have been taken into account as "fundamentally flawed".

 Now, however, Ms Reid has enlisted senior counsel in a bid to have his verdict overturned.

 Sitting in the Court of Appeal today, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Lord Justice Gillen agreed to list the challenge for a hearing on November 17.

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