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Unionist councillors call-in 'Irish language first' decision on council logo name

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Newry, Mourne and Down council is to use the Irish equivalent of its name first on its new logo, followed by the English version

Newry, Mourne and Down council is to use the Irish equivalent of its name first on its new logo, followed by the English version

Newry, Mourne and Down council is to use the Irish equivalent of its name first on its new logo, followed by the English version

Unionist councillors of Newry, Mourne and Down District have formally requested to 'call-in' for consideration a decision to have the Irish version of its name appear above the English on its new logo.

The decision was revealed on Wednesday after Sinn Fein councillor Barra O Muiri brought forward the motion for the shadow council which proposed that, in regard to its positioning of Irish and English in its bilingual procedure, that the Irish language should be above the English, and when side by side, the Irish language should be to the left of the English.

It was passed by 14 votes for to five votes against.

"Councillors have 5 working days following publication of the minutes of subject they wish to call in.

 A spokeswoman from the Council confirmed receipt of a Call-in from eight Councillors in relation to the decision.

In a statement the council said: "This has been called in on the basis of community impact grounds and, as it is an admissible call-in under section 41(1)(b) of the Local Government Act (NI) 2014, it has been referred by the Chief Executive for a legal opinion."

Calling in the decision, DUP Group Leader Garth Craig said it was creating a "cold house" for Unionists.

He said: “This new Council is inheriting an existing workforce with an under-representation of Protestants. If this decision is allowed to stand then it would exacerbate that unacceptable situation.

"Following on from the likes of the McCreesh park decision, the intent to create a cold house for Unionists will be clear for all to see. People should take confidence from the unity of purpose their representatives are showing to oppose this attempt to discriminate."

Ulster Unionist Party Group Leader, David Taylor said: “This council area has amongst the smallest Protestant and Unionist communities of all council areas in Northern Ireland.

"The manner in which nationalist councillors have tried to steam roller this decision without fulfilling legal requirements demonstrates this is an attempt to domineer and lord it over a vulnerable minority.

"Republicans and Nationalists must face up to the fact that the rights of the minority Unionist community have to be protected. They will be resisted at every opportunity in their attempts to ride roughshod over our rights, which are every bit as legitimate as the majority community in the District."

Both group leaders called on the Alliance and Independent councillors to support their call-in of this decision.

SDLP and Sinn Fein are also backing plans to implement the policy throughout Northern Ireland. It could see three new nationalist super councils - Fermanagh and Omagh, Derry and Strabane, and Mid Ulster - adopting the same policy for their logo for corporate stationary and vehicles.

Belfast Telegraph