Concerns over costs a sign of the times at Moyle

A UNIONIST councillor in Moyle has questioned the cost of erecting bilingual signs in the district.

UUP councillor Joan Baird said ratepayers needed to know how much it is costing to put the signs up in Moyle after the go-ahead was given for a further nine such signs in English and Irish on routes in Ballycastle and the Glens.

Cllr Baird said: “I want to know how much this is costing to council to do.”

Council chairman, Independent Padraig McShane, said a budget was set aside for signage by council.

Prior to the dual signs being erected in an area, a survey of residents is carried out to gauge support for the change.

In order for it to proceed 2/3 of the responses must be in favour.

“Surveys cost money,” said Cllr Baird.

“So does lifting bins,” replied Cllr McShane.

Cllr Baird said: “I still want to know on behalf of Moyle district ratepayers how much this is costing us.

“I think that is fair and honourable.”

Independent member Colum Thompson said: “If I could just remind councillors those who live in theses streets asking for Irish signs are ratepayers as well.

“It’s not council money being spent, it’s their money being spent.”

Cllr Baird said another option to consider was outside funding for the names of townlands to be displayed in the district.

The council was told approximately £3,500 was set aside by council in its budget for bilingual signs.

UUP councillor Willie Graham branded that a “waste on foolish signs of no value”.

Independent Randal McDonnell said perfectly good signs were being taken down to make way for the replacements.

SDLP member Donal Cunningham said: “The Irish language should not be used as a political football.”

“I want to include Ulster Scots in this,” said Cllr Baird.

Chief Executive of the council, Richard Lewis, said he would seek cost estimates.

SDLP councillor Catherine McCambridge said: “I would support anything that leads to opency and transparency for ratepayers.”