One unionist politician has vowed to boycott official stationery bearing Irish, after his council opted to adopt a new bi-lingual logo.
Down District Council this week voted to approve a new logo, similar to the old one but with Irish underneath, following on from its decision earlier in the year to gradually begin introducing dual-language signs.
However, in the wake of the meeting William Walker, DUP councillor for Rowallene, contacted the News Letter.
“I’ve no time for the Irish language when it’s being shoved down your throat. Where is the equality in this?” he said.
The logo was approved on Monday, and as the council’s old stock of stationery runs out, it is expected to be replaced with new material bearing the fresh logo.
“I don’t want it anywhere near my stationery,” said Cllr Walker. “Last week I already ordered enough (English-only) stationery which will take us through to the end of the new council period.”
And when that runs out?
“I’d be refusing to use council stationery. I’d print my own,” he said. “I have a basic right to refuse... Why do we as councillors not have the right to decide what goes on our stationery?
“Because at the end of the day, we’re sending that out to constituents on letters or compliment slips or whatever.”
With the largely-nationalist council due to merge with Newry and Mourne, he is fearful of what any further nationalist domination might bring.
“Heaven help us if this is what it’s like at the minute,” he added.
Independent councillor Cadogan Enright said: “I totally agree with him. I wouldn’t want to have Irish or any other language stuffed down their throats. But we do live in Ireland and one of the official languages of Ireland is Irish, and so bi-lingualism is just a reflection of the Good Friday Agreement and it shows respect between the two communities, in terms of parity of esteem.”
Councillor John Doris, SDLP, said: “People who want to have Irish have the same right to have it as the people who want English. So it’s fair enough. It’s even.”