Sinn Féin’s Cathal Ó hOisín has called on the Electoral Commission to explain why they are denying Irish speakers their rights by not accommodating the correct spelling of Irish language names on ballot papers.
The Sinn Féin candidate said:
“I have been told by the Electoral Commission that the correct spelling of my name will not be included on the ballot paper at the upcoming local government election because it is in the Irish language.
“They have indicated to me that the aspiration on my surname – the small h – cannot be accommodated on the ballot paper. That is an essential part of the Irish language.
“All of my election literature has the correct version of my name but now the ballot paper will be different. But this is not just about me; it is about rights.
“All candidates should have the right to have the correct spelling of their name included on ballot papers.
“Given that the Official Notice of Nominations published yesterday even contained the nickname of one candidate surely an accommodation could be made for Irish speakers.
“This is symptomatic of the disrespect shown to the Irish language community and Irish identity across the north.
“The Irish language is a central part of the identity of many people in our society and it should be treated with respect by official bodies.
“I will be contacting the Electoral Commission to urge them to rectify this anomaly and to ensure that the correct spelling of all candidates names is accommodated.”