| 1.7°C Belfast

BBC trolling me through their use of Irish street sign: Bryson



Controversy: The image used by the BBC website

Controversy: The image used by the BBC website

Controversy: The image used by the BBC website

BBC Northern Ireland has been accused of trolling loyalist activist Jamie Bryson over a picture used on an article about new Irish language signage in Belfast.

In its coverage about the council's decision to approve new bilingual street signs, they used a picture of Belfast's Bryson Street, with the Irish 'Sraid Ui Bhriosain' below it.

The image has been used by BBC NI on several occasions in relation to stories on Irish language street signage.

Mr Bryson, who came to public attention during the Belfast flag protests in 2012, is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show.

He accused the corporation of "engaging in some plausibly deniable trolling".

A BBC spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph they would not be commenting on the matter.

Mr Bryson said: "No doubt they will claim that their persistent use of Bryson Street is just coincidental, but I think people can make their own mind up. There are plenty of Irish Street names, yet that is their image of choice persistently.

"In my view it demeans journalism and for a publicly funded broadcaster to be engaging in such childish behaviour really is rather unbecoming.

"It simply once again reaffirms my long-held view that the BBC NI establishment is an hyper-woke liberal elite echo chamber, with a increasingly overt nationalist leaning."


Jamie Bryson

Jamie Bryson

Jamie Bryson


Bryson Street is an interface area in east Belfast. Most notably the 'Battle of St Matthew's' took place at a church in the area in June 1970. Between June 27 and 28 three people were killed and over 20 injured during fighting between the IRA and loyalists.

On Thursday evening a last-ditch attempt by unionists to reverse a council decision to change policy on bilingual streets signs in the city failed.

At the meeting of the full council, members voted conclusively for new criteria regarding the erection of a second street nameplate in a language other than English. The majority of street signs in a second language in the city are in Irish, and the majority of applications are for Irish signs.

The new policy means at least one resident of any Belfast street, or a councillor, is all that is required to trigger a consultation on a second nameplate, with 15% in favour being sufficient to erect the sign.

Up until now, the policy required 33% of the eligible electorate in any Belfast street to sign a petition to begin the process.

Last October, after months of wrangling between Sinn Fein and the Alliance Party on the matter, the two parties came to an agreement on a new policy. At the council's Strategic Policy and Resources committee, 14 out of 20 councillors agreed to the new criteria.

Sinn Fein, Alliance, the SDLP, the Green Party, and the People Before Profit Party all support the new street sign policy, while the three unionist parties, the DUP, UUP and PUP, are all against it.

Despite facing superior numbers in terms of the vote, the DUP used the "call-in" mechanism to delay the council ratification on "both procedural and adverse community impact grounds".

Last month Belfast council's city lawyer said the call-in "did not have merit on either ground".

The committee report states "the policy, when drafted, would be subject to equality screening and consultation and the operation of residual discretion would allow for appropriate consideration of any potentially sensitive decisions".

Belfast Telegraph