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DUP councillor ‘totally abhors' defacing of poster for Team Ireland athlete Ciara Mageean

A sign that was erected over the weekend on the Strangford Road to wish Portaferry Olympian Ciara Mageean has been vandalised less than 24 hours later. Picture by Philip Walsh
John Monaghan

A DUP councillor has said he "totally abhors" the defacing of a poster in Co Down wishing luck to Team Ireland Olympian Ciara Mageean.

The poster, on the Strangford Road between Downpatrick and Strangford, had read 'You've done us proud Ciara. Good luck for the games', along with two pictures of the athlete in action for the Irish team.

However, the "us" has now been scored out and changed to read "ROI", a reference to the Republic of Ireland.

Several other posters showing support for the athlete have appeared over the past month throughout the Ards peninsula, particularly in her home village of Portaferry.

It came as the middle-distance runner, who is competing in her first Olympics, prepared to race in the semi-finals of the women's 1,500 metres last night.

Nigel Edmund, who represents the Ards peninsula on Ards and North Down Borough Council, said he was "absolutely dumbfounded" at the vandalism.

Mr Edmund said: "I totally abhor and am absolutely dumbfounded that someone would deface a poster of a young athlete who we all support, and one who comes from Portaferry.

"I am annoyed that anyone would take the time to undermine the great achievements that this woman has produced for the country and the local area."

He added: "We should be proud of every single achievement we produce at this Olympics and everyone in the Ards and North Down area will be outraged at this."

Ireland's Ciara Mageean celebrates her bronze medal in the Women's 1,500m final at this year's European Athletic Championships at the Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam

The defaced billboard is located a short distance from Portaferry on the other side of the Strangford Lough, within the boundaries of the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

Mr Edmund said: "I know my colleagues in Newry, Mourne and Down would not be happy at this. We wish her the best and just like Carl Frampton, we hope to welcome home another sporting hero.

"Anyone on this side of the Lough is 100% behind her."

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