A NEW festive sign erected in Strabane which says, ‘happy Christmas’ in Ulster Scots (blythe Yuletide) has been welcomed by a prominent member of the local Irish-speaking community.
Séan Mór, who also writes a column for this newspaper says the current trio of signs, ‘happy Christmas’, ‘Nollaigh Shona’ and ‘blythe Yuletide’ go well together at this time of the year.
“I’ve no objection to it at all; I would welcome it,” Séan said this week. “Christmas is a cultural event and at this time of the year I think they go well together.
“I wouldn’t be saying that everywhere you have a sign in Irish there has to be a sign in Ulster Scots but in this case they go well together.”
He added, “I would truly and completely support the signs and it’s nice to see the local council listening to the community.”
Séan Mór was among a group of local people who erected a Nollaig Shona sign last Christmas after council suggested an equality impact assessment was necessary before it would consider such a sign in Strabane.
This week, a spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed that the erection of the tri-lingual Christmas signage was approved by council earlier in the year.
“The process was subject to the equality impact assessment process and screened out through the process,” they said.
Séan Mór added that the sign erected last year – which is separate to that Nollaig Shona sign installed by council – will hopefully be erected in the coming days on the Railway Road.
As well, UUP councillor Derek Hussey says the new blythe Yuletide sign is to be welcomed.
“The ideal situation for myself would be for a simple ‘happy Christmas’ but there are those who like to use varying linguistics,” he said.
“Put it this way, so long as it isn’t ‘happy holidays’ – which I absolutely detest – I’m happy enough. As a man once said, that’s like taking the Christ out of Christmas.”