MAYOR of Limerick, Cllr Gerry McLoughlin, has defended his suggestion that street signs in the city should be translated into Polish and African languages.
Since the Limerick Leader broke the story in our Monday tabloid edition, there has been a mixed reaction to the suggestion.
Many have praised the idea, including the asylum seekers support group Doras Luimni. But other people have criticised the suggestion.
The story has become an internet talking point on the Limerick Leader web site among others.
One contributor to www.limerickleader.ie wrote that spending money on Polish-language signs is â€œnothing short of a disgraceâ€, while another wrote: â€œIt is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.â€
But Mayor McLoughlin defended the idea, saying it is unfair for people to criticise him wanting to afford a warm welcome to minorities.
In a statement released to the Limerick Leader, he wrote: â€œI am a man of the world, I travel the world. I have an obligation to set out my views and stand up for all groupings within the city. I donâ€™t like to hear people giving out about my views, especially when they are about warm welcomes for all. It is my responsibility as Mayor of Limerick City to acknowledge the input of all nationalities.â€
He said he is happy to see discussions take place on the matter, but â€œit would be very unhealthy to fear differenceâ€.
Mayor McLoughlin said it is â€œnaiveâ€ not to foster links with different countries. â€œJobs are only going to come about by creating links with other countries. Letâ€™s not be naive: lay out the red carpet for other countries to visit and be welcome in Limerick. Our city doesnâ€™t start and end between Caherdavin and Castletroy. Weâ€™re a beacon for the whole of Limerick city, county and others,â€ he added.
Mayor McLoughlin seems unlikely to find support for his translation idea in the council, however, with Cllr Tom Shortt and Cllr Kevin Kiely speaking against the idea.
The chairman of the transport and infrastructure committee Cllr Ger Fahy gave the idea only a lukewarm welcome.
Cllr Kiely said: â€œWe are so strapped for cash, we cannot afford to put up street signs of our own. I think the Mayor is getting carried away on this one.â€