Irish language sign defaced in Mid-Ulster.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Irish language sign defaced in Mid-Ulster. thumbnail The defaced sign in Mid-Ulster.

AN IRISH language sign welcoming people to the Mid-Ulster area was defaced less than 48 hours after being put up, a councillor has claimed.

The sign, at Portglenone Bridge, is in both Irish and English and welcomes people arriving from neighbouring Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The nationalist-controlled Mid-Ulster District Council voted to put Irish first above English on its logo and signs, but now the Irish wording has been obscured by black spray paint.

Sinn Féin Mid-Ulster councillor Seán McPeake described the defacing as a "despicable hate crime" and said he had reported it to police.

Mr McPeake tweeted: "Despicable hate crime reported to PSNI - naked intolerance and bigotry towards MidUlster_DC bi-lingual signage at Portglenone Bridge." He said: "Road signs have been vandalised in quite a few places but it is the first time that a gateway sign has been defaced.

"Unionists don't want to accept the new bi-lingual policy in Mid-Ulster and their opposition is contributing to an undercurrent of negativity."

There have been several rows on Mid-Ulster Council between nationalists and unionists about the use of Irish, including a row in September over the introduction of a dual-language street naming scheme.

In 2015, Mid-Ulster followed Newry, Mourne and Down by giving Irish prominence over English on the council logo and above English on headed paper and Council vehicles.

The Irish wording of several signs in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area have also been targeted with black spray paint since their introduction.

The PSNI said it had received a report of criminal damage caused to a sign in the Portglenone area on December 26 and that "enquiries into this are on going".


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