April 24, 2024
Economy

Department for the Economy reveals cost of bilingual rebranding after question from TUV leader


The rebrand came into effect shortly after new republican Economy Minister Conor Murphy took up post.

Mr Murphy is the first nationalist to hold the Economy portfolio.

Prior to his appointment, the department was run by UUP Ministers immediately after the Good Friday Agreement and DUP Ministers from 2007-2022, minus the years power-sharing institutions were not functioning.

The decision to rebrand prompted TUV leader Jim Allister to submit an Assembly question enquiring about associated costs.

The Economy Department’s new bilingual signage.

He asked the Minister for the Economy “what value for money assessment has been made on his decision to rebrand his Department on a bilingual basis” and to “detail the anticipated cost”.

The department has now issued a response stating: “The small sum required to rebrand the Department on a bilingual basis involved commensurate effort in a value for money assessment.

“The anticipated cost for the rebrand work is estimated at £5,270.

“No additional costs are anticipated as any future updates will be part of normal business activity.”

Not all departments have bilingual branding, for instance the Department of Education website only has a heading written in English.

That department is currently run by a DUP Minister and has been held by the party since 2016.

The Executive Office does not have bi-lingual branding either.

Bi-lingual street signs have been introduced across Northern Ireland over recent years.

Belfast City Council adopted their current policy on street signage back in 2021, allowing residents to apply for a dual language street sign in any language where they live.

Last week the PSNI confirmed an investigation was launched after a dual language street sign was damaged in south Belfast.

The destruction of the sign was the second time it has been vandalised in less than two months.

Writing on social media local SDLP councillor Gary McKeown said: “Disgusted that the bilingual street sign on Haypark Avenue has been vandalised – again.

“This time broken into pieces. Imagine the effort that went into doing this by someone just because they have no respect for their neighbours or their community.”

The sign is just one of several dual language street signs which have been vandalised over the years. In 2021, two bilingual signs at Crannog Way in Enniskillen were targeted by black paint in a sectarian attack.

Earlier this year Belfast City Council also said they would fix several of the signs after they were reported to contain spelling mistakes – including the translation of Haypark Avenue.

The sign was spelt ‘Ascaill Pharie an Fheir’ when the correct spelling is ‘Ascaill Pháirc an Fhéir.’

Although Irish is the most popular choice for an alternative language in Belfast, applications can be made for any language including Ulster Scots and Chinese.

If the application gains the support of 15% of residents on the electoral register it can go forward for approval by the council.



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