Council insists it is NOT anti-Irish

ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Council may have been forced to drop its ‘English Only’ rules for street signs - but it is adamant that this does not mean it is anti-Irish.

The controversial policy was dropped on Friday at the High Court, with local ratepayers left to pick up the legal bills.

Councillor Anne Marie Logue was there, and she wasted no time launching a scathing attack on the entire episode.

“The decision to enforce a discriminatory English Only policy has now cost ratepayers thousands of pounds,” she said.

“Shameful waste of money. Equality costs nothing.”

The council has attempted to explain the tangled web that led it all the way to court on Friday morning.

“On 17 May 2018 the Council received a pre-action protocol letter from the Applicant’s solicitors challenging its policy to have street signs in English only,” said a spokesperson.

“ Due to the Council receiving this letter at a late stage, there was insufficient time to respond and the Applicant then issued judicial review proceedings against the Council.

“In those circumstances, and to establish a pragmatic way forward, the Council agreed that its existing policy would be set aside and that a new more detailed policy would be drafted for the Council to consider.

“Court granted leave for the Applicant to withdraw her challenge and the Council will pay the Applicant’s costs to be taxed in default of agreement.

“It is the Council’s view that its policy was not a ban in any way on the Irish language.

“The Council allocates resources to many initiatives to promote minority languages.”

*Full report in this week’s Antrim Guardia

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