The Court of Appeal in Belfast has rejected a legal bid to overturn a 270-year-old ban on the use of the Irish language in Northern Ireland court proceedings.

Irish speaker Caoimhin Mac Giolla Cathain had been appealing the dismissal of a legal challenge he took after being informed his application in Irish for a drinks licence could not be considered.

The judge ruled that giving individuals the right to convert court forms from English into a language not understood by the vast majority of the intended recipients would frustrate the interests of justice.

After the ruling, Irish language activists called for the introduction of an Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland.

Spokeswoman Janet Muller said there was clearly a major issue with a law that bans the use of the indigenous language of Ireland in the courts in a part of Ireland.