Donegal council is being urged to erect new signs in the Gaeltacht to “keep alive” the Irish-language region.

County councillor Micheal Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig (pictured) tabled the motion on Monday at the full monthly meeting of the council.

The cathaoirleach for the council’s Glenties municipal district (MD) spoke in Irish, which was then translated: “You can come into the Gaeltacht area without knowing that you are in a Gaeltacht area.

“People don’t realise that they are in Galtacht areas [because there are no signs].

“I think that if there was large signage, it would give people of the Gaeltacht areas confidence in their areas.

“I’m not saying that the large signage would be on every road, but there should be signs.”

He added: “This will help to keep the Gaeltacht areas alive. This is an opportunity that should not be lost.”

Ironically, the response from the council official, who spoke in Irish, could not be heard through the language translation headphones because they were not working properly.

Cllr MacGiolla Easbuig’s motion was seconded by Liam Blaney of the Letterkenny MD.

The motion stated: “That Donegal County Council design and erect large signage to properly demarcate and promote the Gaeltacht areas of the county, so that visitors and tourists are aware of the unique living and linguistic heritage of the area that they are entering, and so that local Gaeltacht residents are inspired to keep the language and their Gaeltacht identity alive.

“Such signage should have a strong visual impact and include a speciality designed logo and motto in consultation with the various Gaeltacht communities and other relevant agencies.”

The council responded: “Preliminary work, and a public consultation process, has been carried out by the Irish Language Office since last year, on the drafting of an Irish Language Plan for County Donegal, and, at present, local Gaeltacht communities in Donegal are drafting a total of eight language plans for the Gaeltacht areas of the county.

“The first two of those localised plans were officially approved by the Minister for the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh TD, at a public event in Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair [Gweedore Theatre] on Thursday, September 21, 2017.

“With approval of the [council] members, this proposal can be brought forward as part of that work in the coming months, so that the local Gaeltacht communities, through their lead organisations, and relevant agencies such as Udaras na Gaeltachta, as well as Donegal County Council, can have an input in terms of the best design of such a sign, its number, location, and the best way to physically demarcate and publicise the location of the Gaeltacht.”

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