I studied politics at the university between 2011-2014.
As a unionist, I enjoyably engaged in many debates with republicans in my politics class on political issues past and present.
Not once did the Irish language ever emerge as an issue and not once did I ever hear of any grievance regarding the lack of Irish language being present on union signage.
Feile organisers asked if they have warned Wolfe Tones about leading young people in pro-IRA chants
Apprentice Boys of Derry: new era of respect makes for enjoyable ‘Relief’ parade
DUP MP calls for probe into Sinn Fein MP’s Twitter post
Man in his 20s dies in road crash near Magherafelt
Irish language group Kneecap accused of ‘grooming sectarian hatred’ with Feile mural
This leads me to question what is driving this demand which was not there previously.
I can only conclude it is from the politicisation of the Irish language in recent years as a political issue by Sinn Fein, which has driven demand for a bilingual signage policy ahead of other priorities.
A bilingual signage policy will do nothing to benefit students from a unionist background who will not know Irish and will only benefit students who can communicate in Irish fluently, who are overwhelmingly from a nationalist or republican background.
That does not sound fair or equitable to me, especially with the absence of the Ulster Scots language.
Why is public money not being spent to the benefit of all students?
I am very disappointed a political issue has managed to find its way unnecessarily into union policy, which certainly would have alienated me from engaging in any union activities as I’m sure it might do with current and future students.
As a unionist, my views have actually hardened after graduating from university in response to the political agenda of republicans, which only continues to divide society.
Michael Palmer, Newtownards