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Residents prevent bilingual signage being erected after error in survey results

Rossmore Road in Dungannon
The current signage on Rossmore Road in Dungannon

Mid Ulster District Council staff recently came very close to erecting bilingual Irish/English signage on the Rossmore Road, Dungannon – they were about to put the nameplate up when they were informed a survey on the issue had returned an inaccurate result.

It was initially thought 60% of respondents were in favour of bilingual signage on the Rossmore Road, when it was actually just 50% – just below the 51% threshold required for the provision of signage in two different languages.

In all, 63 survey letters were issued, giving residents a chance to have their say on the matter. It was initially thought 12 had replied in favour of such a move, and eight against – a majority of 60%.

However, it turned out an equal number of respondents – 12 in favour and 12 against – had expressed a view.

The matter was mentioned at a Environment Committee of Mid Ulster District Council held on January 8.

The report furnished to committee members explains how near the local authority was to providing the signage: “Following the close of the survey, the completed surveys were compiled, results calculated, and the final committee report issued.

“Results were also referred to the council’s Assets Development team from Building Control to prepare for the erection of the sign. However, several completed and date-stamped surveys had been delivered into the Dungannon office instead of the Magherafelt office.

“Unfortunately these had not been been accounted for in the final calculations, or in the report prepared for committee.

“Nonetheless, these were included in recalculating results and the residents of Rossmore Road were advised by letter that less than 51% of respondents were in favour of the proposal and, therefore, in accordance with Mid Ulster District Council’s Policy on Dual Language Signage, this proposal had been refused by the council.

“On December 6, 2023, when attempting to erect the new dual-language signage, council was approached by several residents of Rossmore Road and an elected member, and made aware of the outcome of the survey that they had received, which contradicted the erection of the nameplate.

“In accordance with the Dual Language Signage Nameplates Policy, where not more than 51% of the completed replies returned by occupiers indicate that they are in favour of the erection of a dual language street nameplate, it is therefore confirmed that the dual language nameplate at Rossmore Road, Dungannon, will not be erected.”

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