PÁIRC Nua Chollann will be fully furnished with bilingual signage, it has been confirmed.
The £5.6 million development on the Stewartstown Road which opened in October includes a 13-metre ‘Leap of Faith’ sculpture, accessible and sensory equipment, a nature-focused education zone, among many other features.
Irish Language organisation Conradh na Gaeilge have said the park will become a beacon of best practice.
Cuisle Nic Liam, Language Rights Coordinator with Conradh na Gaeilge, said: “We are delighted that Páirc Nua Chollann will be fully furnished with comprehensive bilingual signs throughout the entire park. This is something that we have long campaigned for with Belfast City Council. Local Irish medium schools, youth groups and organisations will make frequent use of this park and for them to have access to such an excellent facility in their native tongue is transformational.
"This park will now become a beacon of best practice, a marker against which all other council-owned parks and facilities can now be measured against. We hope that this is the start of a new, progressive approach to language promotion from Belfast City Council. We look forward to seeing the final product in the coming weeks and we will be urging the Council to adapt the same approach to other parks and facilities across the city in the coming months.”
Colin Councillor, Caoimhín McCann, said the new park will be the high-water mark for Irish language policy in the city.
“We’re delighted to get confirmation from Belfast City Council that every single piece of signage that goes up in the park as Béarla, in English, will go up as Gaeilge as well,” Cllr McCann said.
“The new park is going to be the high-water mark for Irish language policy in the city. So absolutely delighted that that’s our home turf here in the Colin, that we’re going to be setting an example for the rest of the Belfast City Council area.”
Cllr McCann confirmed that all signs in the park will have an Irish language sign in the same dimension and the same size right next to the English.
“To get that confirmation from Council is brilliant and on the Gaeilge signs too it will be Irish first so exactly the way that Conradh na Gaeilge have advised that bilingual signage should go. Every single piece of their policy that they wanted to see has been supported by ourselves in the Colin Sinn Féin team and as a result of that adopted by the Council officers,” he added.
“The only signage up at the minute is the massive Páirc Nua Chollann on the front of the road and the signs that they are legally obliged to have for opening. Any signs that are up already will have an Irish language sign in the same dimension, the same size right next to it so that will be delivered.”