At Tuesday night’s meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, an Ulster Unionist councillor requested that the Sinn Fein Chairwoman of the Council addresses his party representatives “in a language that we understand”.

Ulster Unionist Councillor Victor Warrington raised the issue at the start of the meeting during the ‘apologies’ section of the agenda, claiming that Chairwoman Currie referring to Ulster Unionist elected councillors as councillor in the Irish form ‘comhairleoir,’ was disrespectful.

Councillor Warrington said: “When I and my colleagues were elected, we were elected as councillors, since then you have been addressing us in another language.”

He continued: “We have no knowledge of that language therefore following the Northern Ireland code of conduct for councillors in all Council buildings for equality, respect and promoting good relations, I insist that you address the Ulster Unionist councillors in the proper term as councillors.”

“We deserve to be treated with fairness and equality, by addressing us in a language that we understand. We deserve respect,” he added.

Councillor Warrington also requested that if councillors choose to speak in another language during a Council meeting, they should provide a post translation for those who may not speak the language.

In response to Councillor Warrington, Chairwoman Currie noted that it was not her intention to be “disrespectful at all, in any way”.

She stated: “I’m disappointed that you see it like that and if that’s the view of your own party, I’m very disappointed.”

Explaining that she is an Irish language activist in the community, she added: “I believe it belongs to you as much as it belongs to me.”

Chairwoman Currie continued: “I don’t want to force it upon you. I think just in terms of respect, although I have been using the Irish language here, in the most part I have been repeating it in English, maybe with the exception of comhairleoir so my apologies for that.”

Reiterating that she meant no disrespect by addressing the Ulster Unionist councillors in Irish, Chairwoman Currie added: “I do believe there is a little bit of disrespect in that statement for me and my identity and it’s not just me, as I said, I believe this language belongs to everybody.”