Sinn Fein hits out at DUP councillor's Irish leaflet 'insult' - call for party to clarify position
No one in Mid Ulster speaks Irish as their first language, said councillor
Sinn Fein has called on the DUP to clarify its position on the rights of Irish language speakers after one of the party's councillors attacked a local authority's decision to produce an Irish language information leaflet.
Last week Mid Ulster District council publicised the launch of an Irish language version of its recycling guide. The launch coincided with Seachtain na Gaeilge, a national Irish Language Festival.
DUP councillor Clement Cuthbertson told the News Letter he objected to the leaflet.
"It is ludicrous to produce a leaflet in Irish with the aim to encourage recycling," he told the newspaper.
"This is a decision I objected strongly to when it came before committee. No one in Mid Ulster speaks Irish as their first language. When you look at the last census in 2011, it wasn't even in the top five most spoken languages in the district."
Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan said Mr Cuthbertson's comments were an "insult" to those who speak Irish in the area.
“Either through ignorance or arrogance, Councillor Cuthbertson has just dismissed the hundreds of young people in Mid-Ulster who are receiving their education with Irish as their first language," the West Belfast MLA said.
“So not only is he wrong in his assertion, he is being insulting to the thousands of people who see the right to receive correspondence from their local authority in Irish as an important recognition of their national identity.
“When DUP representatives utter these kind of insults, people within nationalism are left asking themselves whether that party has learned anything from the disrespect and arrogance that contributed to the collapse of the Stormont institutions.
“The DUP leadership regularly claim they have no objection to the use of the Irish language so they now need to clarify how that sits with the latest insulting remark from one of their councillors.”
The DUP has been contacted for a response.
Belfast Telegraph Digital