10 September 1998 Edition

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Use people power to boost language

People are being urged to flex their democratic voice in the battle for equal recognition of the Irish language. Following Belfast City Council's new commitment to provide bi-lingual signs in any street where two thirds of residents wish for them, Sinn Fein's South Belfast councillor, Sean Hayes, has urged people to take up the challenge.

He said, ``I would encourage citizens from across Belfast to get the necessary support for the erection of these bi-lingual signs. Council backing for this proposal is a step forward in the battle for equality for the Irish speaking citizens of this city.''

Meanwhile Forbairt Feirste, the Irish language economic development trust, has been invited by the island of Lewis in Scotland to advise them on how to set up a similar agency to aid job creation in relation to Scots Gaelic.

Forbairt Feirste's manager, Pilib MacCathmhaoil, has been at the heart of of many of the plans to `kick start' economic activity related to the Irish language, such as television, tourism and enterprise development. MacCathmhaoil said, ``it is ironic that we should be advising our Celtic cousins on economic regeneration when we took our initiative from them. However developments in Scotland have lacked a strategic approach and I hope they can benefit from our experience.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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