BILINGUAL traffic signs are to be introduced in West Belfast as part of a pilot scheme that could see the roll-out of similar signage across the North.

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd confirmed his Department’s commitment to the Irish language following a meeting with Irish language business development agency Forbairt Feirste today.

The Minister welcomed progress made in recent years and said the bi-lingual display of passenger information on Glider and Metro services by Translink, including the introduction of bilingual signage and audio announcements on the Glider in West Belfast, was a positive step.

“I was pleased to meet with Forbairt Feirste to discuss my continued commitment to equality for Irish language speakers," said Mr O'Dowd.

“I have asked officials to develop proposals for a project that would see the use of multi-lingual traffic signs piloted in the Gaeltacht Quarter in Belfast, which is a thriving Irish language community.

“This will help inform the development of future policy for the use of multi-lingual traffic signs.

“Departments and public bodies have a role to play in supporting and promoting the use of the Irish language and Ulster Scots language and my Department will continue to do so."

Forbairt Feirste Director Jake Mac Siacais said: "Our meeting with Minister O'Dowd and his officials was yet a further step in ensuring that Irish is widely available in both the public realm and on our transport network.

"The Minister shares our ambition to make sure that the Irish language is available for all and is part of the normal fabric of city and regional life. 

"We will continue our engagement with the Department and wish to acknowledge the Minister and his team's efforts in this regard."