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PSNI to liaise with department over 'Welcome to Northern Ireland' border sign peppered with bulletholes

A 'Welcome to Northern Ireland' sign covered in bullet holes on the border crossing between Ballyconnell, Co Cavan and Derrylin, Co Fermanagh. Picture by Mal McCann

THE PSNI has said it will liaise with the Department for Infrastructure about a sign welcoming people to Northern Ireland which has been peppered with bulletholes.

The damaged sign marks the border crossing between Ballyconnell in Co Cavan and Derrylin in Co Fermanagh.

It remains unclear when the damage was caused, but signs formally welcoming people to the north have been in place for just over five years.

At another crossing connecting Bridgend in Co Donegal with Co Derry, the word 'Northern' has been painted over.

In 2012, then regional development minister Danny Kennedy announced the introduction of the signs at locations across the border.

However, within days some were reported damaged or missing.

Faced with criticism from Sinn Féin, who accused the UUP minister of "marking out territory", Mr Kennedy said at the time that the signs were "entirely for information purposes" and added that there was "no great constitutional drama".

He said: "They're welcoming visitors, particularly the many tourists who cross the border, to Northern Ireland and to remind them that speeds are measured in miles per hour, rather than the European measure of kilometres."

Ulster Unionist councillor in Fermanagh, Alex Baird, said he was not aware of when the damage was caused.

"If this is a recent development it is a worrying development for the law abiding people of the area," he said.

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police are aware of criminal damage caused to a road sign close to the border near Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, and will liaise with the Department for Infrastructure about the matter."

The Department for Infrastructure did not respond to a request for comment.

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