[lg policy] Ulster Students’ Union new Irish Language signage policy ‘makes the university a cold house for unionists and Protestants.’

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Sat Nov 24 11:14:08 EST 2018


 Ulster Students’ Union new Irish Language signage policy ‘makes the
university a cold house for unionists and Protestants.’
[image: editorial image]
Duncan Elder <https://www.newsletter.co.uk/author/Duncan.Elder1>
Email <duncan.elder at jpress.co.uk>
Published: 12:24 Wednesday 21 November 2018
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A new bilingual signage policy which includes Irish language has been
approved by Ulster University Students’ Union (UUSU).

Announcing the new policy on Twitter yesterday, UUSU tweeted: “Council
Update: The Bilingual Signage policy, to include the Irish language on all
Union signage, has been approved. More information to follow.”

The motion agreed by the UUSU Council states: “Student council resolves
that the Students’ Union provides for bilingual signage on all directional,
facilitating and welcoming signs in the Students’ Union to replace existing
signage over time. And that UUSU executive lobbies the University
authorities for Irish language signage on all four campuses.”

Branding the move “utterly unnecessary”, TUV leader Jim Allister said:
“There is no need for it, so it is clearly motivated by the intent to make
the university a cold house for unionists and Protestants.”

Mr Allister claimed the Irish language has been “weaponised” and is being
used “to discomfort unionists and make them feel like foreigners in their
own land.”

But welcoming the new policy, Sinn Féin senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said it
was “a positive step forward and reflective of the growing interest in and
demand from Irish speakers to carry out their daily routines through the
Irish language.”

The former Lord Mayor of Belfast commended the decision of the UUSU
Council, saying: “It’s important that we continue to promote and increase
the visibility of the Irish language; linguistic diversity, representing
and reflecting languages, not least indigenous languages, are positive
economic and social drivers.

“Irish speaking students are entitled to the same language rights as
enjoyed by citizens who live their daily lives through the medium of
English and should benefit from the universal advantages that will no doubt
flow from this progressive move by the Students’ Union Council.”

The News Letter contacted Ulster University for comment, but was told the
new policy is a matter for UUSU.

A statement issued by UUSU said: “A motion on the gradual introduction of
bilingual signage within the university was brought forward to last night’s
meeting of Student Council, which is a democratic body made up of a range
of students from across the campuses, who are elected from the student
body. The motion was debated and passed, mandating UUSU to explore the
implementation of the policy.

“As with all Student Council policy, UUSU will be working with relevant
departments within the University, and with the student body on the
implementation of this policy, and will take into consideration the
Students’ Union and University’s commitment to promoting good relations
across the Institution.

“UUSU will continue to work with student councillors, the wider student
body and key stakeholders in the implementation of all policies that have
been passed by its Student Council.”


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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