Alliance Party Spokesman, Cllr Stephen Farry, has described the referendum vote on the Irish Language Signs in Queen’s Students’ Union as a regrettable blow to the concept of fair employment.
Cllr Farry stated:
“Fair employment matters cannot be decided by a majority vote either among the workers in a factory or by students in a students’ union. Majority voting defeats the purpose of fair employment legislation. It is designed to protect those who percieve themselves as part of a minority from being intimidated by the symbols of the majority.
“This vote by the union is regrettable, as the students who voted ‘yes’ are disagreeing with the very concept of fair employment. In many ways, it is unfortunate that the Irish Language has become so politicised that it has become a barrier to a neutral working environment. While it remains so, the Irish Langauge can and should be promoted in other ways.
“Alliance firmly believes in the concept of neutral working environments. It is regrettable that the SDLP have actually welcomed the vote. A neutral environment does not just mean removing symbols that can be perceived as Unionist, it also means sometimes entail removing symbols that are perceived as Nationalist.”