Irish telephone call incident ‘resolved’

A ROW which erupted over an incident during which a receptionist employed by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council answered a telephone call in Irish, has now been resolved, elected members have been told.

In October of last year, DUP Assembly Member, Maurice Morrow, claimed the use of the Irish language was not council policy.

Calling for a full inquiry into the incident, the DUP MLA said he did not want the council to become “a cold house for Protestants”.

“This sort of behaviour throws out a very bad signal for the unionist/Protestant community, who represent over 40% of the borough population”, added Morrow.

Responding to the DUP man’s claims, Sinn Fein council group leader, Cllr Padraig Quinn, said the council has a strong policy on the promotion of the Irish language.

“I would understand objections if the quality of service was affected, however that is simply not the case”, continued Cllr Quinn.

“In fact, I believe by offering constituents the choice to engage with the council in either English or Irish only enhances the quality of our service.”

The incident was referred to again during a recent council sub-committee meeting, when a councillor enquired as to the outcome of the investigation into the matter.

The council’s Acting Chief Executive, Iain Frazer, advised that it is “custom and practice” for the telephone to be answered in English, but that if a request is made to conduct a conversation in another language then facilities can be made.

Mr Frazer advised that it was a natural response for the people in question to answer the telephone in the manner they did and that the situation has now been resolved.