IRISH language street signage will proceed for a South Belfast street – despite opposition from Unionist councillors.

At the meeting of the People and Communities Committee last month, members were asked to agree to the erection of a second street nameplate in Irish in Knock Eden Park, off Knockbreda Road.

Fifteen per cent of residents are required to be in favour for the sign to get the green light.

In the Knock Eden Park survey for new Irish language signage, 55 occupiers (28.5 per cent) were in favour of the erection of a second street name plate, 46 occupiers (23.83 percent) were not in favour, while 11 occupiers (5.70 percent) had no preference either way. Eighty-one occupiers (41.97 percent) did not respond to the survey.

Councillors from the DUP, Alliance and the Green Party voted in support of having a second survey of the street, against nine councillors from Sinn Féin and the SDLP who wanted the Council to accept that the 15 per cent threshold for dual language signage was met and to act upon that.

A DUP amendment not to proceed with the Knock Eden Park application was voted down with only five in support, and 14 councillors against. A second DUP amendment then proposed a successful second amendment for another survey to be put to the residents in the street.

However, at Monday night's full Council meeting, Sinn Féin councillor Tomás Ó Néill proposed that Council overturn the Committee's decision to re-survey the residents of Knock Eden Park and that they proceed with the sign in line with the policy.

"28.5 per cent of residents were in favour which is above the 15 per cent threshold," he stated. "This policy was designed to protect minority languages. It was debated in here and took years to come in.

"Every single month in People and Communities and in Council we are having debates back and forward whether streets should go ahead with Irish language signage."

DUP councillor Bradley Ferguson said he was approached by residents of Knock Eden Park who said there are good community relations in the street and felt an Irish language sign would cause an "increase in community tensions."

Alliance councillor Michael Long said that the 15 per cent threshold was agreed by the Council and this was reached in Knock Eden Park.

"Rather than have multiple surveys, we should take the result of the first survey and proceed," he added.

DUP councillor Dean McCullough said respect works both ways, for language and culture. He added that the 15 per cent threshold is not democratic and called on Alliance to clarify if the majority of a street voted against a sign, would they respect the majority of residents wishes?

SDLP Councillor Séamas de Faoite said Irish street signage for Knock Eden Park should proceed given the results of the residents' survey. He accused some members of the Council of continuing to dehumanise the Irish language which is a "core part of this city's shared cultural fabric".

DUP Councillor Ruth Brooks said responses to dual language signs in streets have been "pitifully low" which shows how much residents "really care".

"I have been contacted by people who don't want the signs because they want to live in peace and harmony and don't feel Irish language signs bring anything. I respect the Irish language but only in areas where it is wanted.

"Knock Eden Park is a mixed area and we need to look at this policy again."

Following a recorded vote on Sinn Féin councillor Tomás Ó Néill's proposal to proceed with Irish street signage for Knock Eden Park, it was passed by 41 votes for and 16 against.