Staff at Mid Ulster Council will have to be conversant in Ulster Scots, even though only four percent of the population speak the language.
The move, which is recommended in the council’s draft policy report on the Ulster Scots language, is part of a four year plan to recognise the language’s integral role in the linguistic heritage of the area.
The report advises that receptionists and telephonists will have to able to respond to queries in the language, and that awareness training classes will be made available for staff.
Translation, correction and proofreading services will also be provided by the council.
The report also recommends that any correspondence in the Ulster Scots language will be responded to in Ulster Scots, and that the language will be increasingly incorporated into the council’s website.
However, local charity Mid Ulster Victims Empowerment has urged the council not to spend money on making its staff conversant in Ulster Scots and instead spend it on language and cultural classes for adults and children at various venues.
The group, which has over 500 members, was approached as part of the consultation. It warned: “Individual attention should be given to Ulster Scots as its promotion should not be seen as a necessary evil to make the Irish agenda look inclusive.
“Now it seems the council is pretending to balance the cultural books through an Ulster Scots consultation.”
It also predicted that the council would do ‘naethin’ (nothing) to widen the reach of the language.