Alderman Hussey stated that he welcomed Councillor M McHugh’s inclusion of Cornwall, however it did not engender favour.
Alderman Devenney stated that he was unable to support the proposal as the Irish Language act was used as a political football at Stormont. He referred to comments made by Councillor M McHugh and stated that a number of unionists would have difficulty in embracing the Irish language, however he welcomed the comment that the language was described as being ‘above party politics’.
Alderman Warke stated that although the nationalist majority within Council would be supporting the Irish Language Act, the DUP would not and questioned Council’s reasoning for the request.
Alderman McClintock stated that it would be a dangerous precedent if Council passed the recommendation. She stated that previous requests made regarding the lighting up of Council buildings were to mark certain charities or health commitments but never to support a political campaign. She advised the Mayor that it could put the apolitical role of Mayor in jeopardy and he should take this into account.
The Mayor stated that as Mayor it was his responsibility to ask Members for their opinion and to make decisions based on that opinion which did not always suit everyone.
Councillor Reilly stated that the report asked for a civic building to be lit up in support of the Irish language. He stated that the Irish Language did not belong to any political party or any individual but to every single person across the City and District. He stated that the people who were making a political statement with the Irish language were also not supportive of this campaign.
Councillor Gallagher stated that he was supportive of the proposal and reminded the DUP that they had been previously in support of the Irish Language Act.
Councillor Carlin joined the meeting at this point.
Councillor M McHugh Proposed, Seconded by Councillor Reilly
That Council support the request by Conradh na Gaeilge to light up the Guildhall/other civic building, for one day, in support of the campaign to introduce an Irish Language Act and the Mayor to cover the associated cost.
After voting by a show of hands the result was as follows:-
For – 30; Against - 8; Abstentions – 0.
The proposal was therefore carried and subsequently Council