Council’s Irish language recycling leaflets a ‘waste of paper’

A Northern Ireland council has been accused of producing ‘unnecessary waste’ after printing an Irish language information leaflet about one of its services.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 7:00 am
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council Sean McPeake launches the Irish language recycling guide with students from Gaelscoil Eoghain and Scoil Iósaef

Last week Mid Ulster District Council sent out a short press release and picture detailing the launch of an Irish language version of its recycling guide.

The launch took place to coincide with Seachtain na Gaeilge – a national Irish Language Festival – and saw students and staff from local Irish language schools come to the Burnavon in Cookstown for the occasion.

The focus was solely on the Irish language version of the recycling guide and the media were not told of any versions of the guide in other languages.

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DUP councillor for the area Clement Cuthbertson said he had objected to the leaflet before it was produced.

He said: “It is ludicrous to produce a leaflet in Irish with the aim to encourage recycling. This is a decision I objected strongly to when it came before committee.

“No one in Mid Ulster speaks Irish as their first language. When you look at the last census in 2011, it wasn’t even in the top five most spoken languages in the district.”

While he agreed that explaining recycling to people who did not speak English could be of benefit in the council area, he felt that a version of the guide for Irish speakers served no purpose given they should already be familiar with the recycling procedures when explained in English.

He said: “Rather than educating people to recycle, this is actually producing unnecessary waste which potentially could end up in landfill.

“Once again it is another example of what unionists in a nationalist-dominated council have to endure.

“They show no regard to the ratepayers, their primary focus is to politicise every single council department.”

Last year Mr Cuthbertson criticised the use of the Irish language on all road signs throughout Mid Ulster Council, saying it was “intended to be divisive and confrontational”.

When quizzed on the matter by the News Letter, Mid Ulster District Council said the leaflet was available in other languages and that only “very small quantities” were printed.

The council said: “Our ‘Guide to Recycling’ is produced in a range of nine different language versions, including Irish, to encourage as high a rate of recycling in the district as possible.

“All versions are primarily available on our web site and we only print very small quantities according to need and demand.”