Belfast Telegraph

National Trust is slammed for its refusal to provide guides in Irish

By Allan Preston

The National Trust has been criticised for saying it would only introduce Irish language guides at the Giant's Causeway if the law forced it to.

Language campaign group An Dream Dearg asked the charity on Twitter if it would add Irish to its audio language guides and pamphlets, which are currently available in 11 other languages.

But the charity said "unfortunately, we cannot meet the language requirements of every visitor". "We recognise that people feel passionately about this matter, and should changes to legislation come into effect in this area, we as a charity will examine our resources to adapt to the requirements accordingly," a spokesperson tweeted.

The response was widely criticised. An Dream Dearg's Padraig O Tiarnaigh said: "The very fact the management has indicated that it has not provided services due to a lack of legislation, and would in turn comply to any future legislation, once again reinforces the need for an Irish language act."

SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone said it was "utterly shocking" the National Trust was "refusing" to provide the Irish audio guides.

Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan said: "The provision of services through other languages is welcome - the same services should be provided for Irish speakers."

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said he supported the introduction of guides in Irish if a demand could be shown.

Alliance leader Naomi Long tweeted: "If there is sufficient demand, it makes sense to do it."

A National Trust spokesperson clarified its position later. "The language selection is informed by our visitor markets and whilst we cannot meet every language requirement, we greatly value the opinions of our visitors and keep them under review," the charity said. "We will also address any legislation that will come into effect."

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