Council committee supports the formation of a Gaeltacht region near Maghera

St Patrick's Well in An Carn co Derry
St Patrick's Well in An Carn co Derry
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Mid Ulster council’s Development Committee has voiced its support for the creation of a Gaeltacht region in Carntogher near Maghera in its draft response to Stormont’s consultation on the Irish Language Bill.

Their submission, which will go before the full council at their meeting next week, was opposed by unionists and led to some debate within the chamber.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams with Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy during visit to An Carn Cultural Centre near Maghera

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams with Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy during visit to An Carn Cultural Centre near Maghera

But the document, which also calls for the creation of an Irish Language Commissioner and using the language within Northern Ireland’s courts, schools and the Assembly, was eventually approved at the Thursday night meeting.

With nine councillors for and just three against it, the draft document will now go to the next level.

Speaking out against the proposed consultation reply, DUP councillor James Shiels told the Development Committee: “I think the entire consultation is a waste of money.

“It’s a pointless exercise going forward and it will not be going through Stormont with the DUP veto in place.”

It’s a pointless exercise going forward and it will not be going through Stormont with the DUP veto in place - James Shiels, DUP

But Mid Ulster Council chair, Sinn Fein’s Linda Dillon disagreed. She said: “We should be putting in a response.”

She was backed up by Cllr MCNamee, who added: “There should be an Acht Na Gaeilge to protect the language.”

Cllr Clarke then suggested an amendment to protect town land names as he said they had been omitted from addresses in some areas of Mid Ulster on the last electoral register.

A Draft Ulster Scots Policy that was to be considered at the same meeting was passed over to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee.