Irish to English boat name change cost just £302

The Queen of Ulster with its old Irish name - Banrion Uladh
The Queen of Ulster with its old Irish name - Banrion Uladh

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs have insisted the cost to rename a controversial fisheries protection boat from Irish to English was just £302.

Reports on Wednesday suggested it had cost £7,000 to rename the boat.

The vessel was named Banrion Uladh in 2010 by the then Sinn Fein Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew.

The ship’s name attracted controversy at the time and the controversy continued when the DUP’s Michelle McIlveen, upon taking over the revamped Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, had the vessel renamed as Queen Of Ulster – its translation from Irish.

Ms McIlveen’s reasoning for the name change was that her new department had a “fresh identity and a single language policy”.

The minister said the change had been carried out “at a scheduled annual maintenance event”.

The cost of that planned maintenance was £6,835, a figure used in some reports yesterday to represent the cost of changing the name.

However, the breakdown of that spend shows the updated signage cost just £302 of that total.

A DAERA spokesperson said: “The change of lettering was carried out at a scheduled annual maintenance event involving repairs, repainting and antifouling.

“The total cost of these works was £6,835. This included a cost of £302 for updated signage.”