The DUP says the proposed installation of bi-lingual road signs in Londonderry’s rural hinterland, at a cost of £15,000 to local ratepayers, is a waste of money.
DUP Alderman Gary Middleton made the comments as unionists voted against the move at the December meeting of Derry City Council’s Environmental Services Committee.
Despite their opposition, the project, which will span the Claudy and Park wards, will now go ahead after the majority of nationalists on the committee backed it.
Councillors were told at the meeting in the Guildhall that the signage along 17 rural roads will cost in region of £15,000 to manufacture and erect.
Alderman Middleton said he had “nothing against the Irish language” but that it was unacceptable to “see £15,000 being spent on signs in an area where clearly the overwhelming majority did not respond.”
He claimed that members of a certain political party had turned up at homes and encouraged or even helped people to fill out the forms.
Speaking just after the council agreed to spend around £9,000 on three life-saving defibrillators for the city centre, Alderman Middleton said the money spent on signage could have been used to buy more of such machines instead.
“This money could have been used to buy additional defibrillators for the city. At a time when we can’t even get street lights fixed and with some residents offering to pay for the repairs themselves, I think this is a waste of money to be honest,” he said.
The roads where the signs are to be erected are Altinure Road, Altaghoney Road, Ballyrory Road, Barnes Road, Carnanreagh Road, Crockahilly Road, Crockmore Road, Eden Road, Glenrandel Road, Gortscreaghan Road, Kilcreen Road, Kilgort Road, Magherabrack Road, Plantation Road, Slieveboy Road, Tamnagh Road, Tireighter Road and Umrycam Road.