Belfast City Council to hire Irish language and Ulster Scots officers

Belfast city councillors have voted to hire language officers for Irish and Ulster Scots, after a public consultation found support for the proposal.

The move would see two officers recruited; one responsible for the Irish language and a second "additional Linguistics Officer" who would be responsible for Ulster Scots and other languages, including sign language.

The vote was passed in a meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources committee. The issue will now be put to the full council for approval on October 2, before it can take effect.

The two officers would be responsible for the promotion of their respective languages, as well as some translation and education services.

The proposals were contained in the council's draft Policy on Linguistic Diversity which was subject to an eight-week public consultation period between May and July of this year.

The consultation document noted that Belfast has a higher proportion of Irish language speakers than Northern Ireland as a whole, with 13% of Belfast residents reporting that they have some ability in the language compared to 10.6% of the population at large.

However, it noted that fewer people in Belfast speak Ulster Scots than elsewhere in the North, with 5% of Belfast residents having some Ulster Scots ability, compared to the higher rate of 8% overall in Northern Ireland.


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