Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Bi-lingual Glider signs to change to English-only mid-way through route

Buses will switch between English and Irish on routes

By Christopher Woodhouse

New bi-lingual signs on the Glider in English and Irish will switch to just English as it travels from west to east Belfast.

The cross-city service, which launched this month, will have the signs added to the vehicles in the coming months.

But a spokesperson for Translink said software would be developed to ensure the signs switch to just English when it leaves west Belfast.

East Belfast-based Irish language activist Linda Ervine, sister-in-law of the late PUP leader David Ervine, said the decision was "bizarre". However, east Belfast DUP councillor Tom Haire said there was no need for bi-lingual signage as people in the area had "no more interest in Irish than the man on the Moon".

Ms Ervine told Sunday Life: "I run an Irish language centre in east Belfast, which has turned out to be one of the biggest in Belfast, there certainly is an interest in the language over here.

"It's sad as the unionist community is interested in the language, not all of them, but it's another one of those things that says the language belongs to one community and I don't believe that.

"It's unnecessary; if anyone doesn't want to look at the Irish, it's no problem, look at the English."

Ms Ervine called on Translink to have both languages on the Glider regardless of the route.

Mr Haire said of the decision: "I suppose with regard to the people that live on that route they have no more interest in Irish than the man on the Moon.

"I don't think there is a demand for it in east Belfast, I don't think the majority of people would be particularly interested in it."

He added that if bi-lingual signs were introduced along the route people may object to it and it "may be to the detriment of Translink" as they look for other forms of transport.

A Translink spokesperson said: "As part of the implementation programme for Glider, route maps and signage are being updated. Name signage at Glider halts in west Belfast are already displayed in dual English/Irish language, with this being rolled out to Metro feeder services in the future. Irish language destination screen signage for the west Belfast section of the G1 route is planned to be in place in the coming months."

They added that software will be developed to switch the signs to solely English as the Glider crosses into the east of the city.

Cwoodhouse@sundaylife.co.uk

@MrCWoodhouse

Belfast Telegraph

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