Councillors have clashed over spending on the Irish language compared to Ulster-Scots.
The difference of opinion arose as Newry, Mourne and Down District councillors discussed a financial support package for the 2023-27 draft Irish language strategy.
A lively chamber debate saw a Slieve Gullion unionist and republican representative dispute the new language policy ahead of a planned 12 week public consultation.
Councillor David Taylor (UUP) said: “This report states that the funding will be provided within current financial resources. In reality we need additional resources.
“This report is not accurate, it is not true. There has been funding spent on events such as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and Northern Ireland’s 100 year anniversary that were small amounts compared to others.
“Again, there is a disproportionate level of spending when it comes other matters such as Irish language compared to Ulster-Scots. This is a bone of contention for me and I want this noted in council.”
In response, Cllr Bara Ó Muirí (SF) said: “All we are doing by this strategy is allowing for people to do a bit better in allowing for more capacity of learning. Cllr Taylor says it is disproportionate spending.
“We are looking at £50,000 per year for Irish language. When you set that against all the millions that are being spent on everything else that is for English perhaps you can see how it is disproportionate.
“To compare Irish language spending to Ulster-Scots, it is not a language, but a dialect. The only comparison to make on spending would be with English or other languages, but I won’t do that.”