Northern Ireland news

'No Irish No Gay' banner on motorway treated as hate crime

The banner was placed on a bridge over the M1 motorway between junctions nine and 10 and has been condemned by a politician as "despicable"

A BANNER hung over the M1 motorway with the message 'No Irish No Gay' is being probed by police as a hate incident.

The cloth banner, which was placed on a bridge yesterday between Lurgan and Moira, was removed by PSNI officers.

"The matter is being treated as a hate incident with a racial and homophobic motive," a police spokeswoman said.

Pat Catney, SDLP assembly member for Lagan Valley, condemned the banner as "despicable" and something that does "not belong in 2018".

"For too long anti-Irish rhetoric was deemed acceptable across these islands. These days are long gone and despite the best efforts of some, they aren't coming back," he said.

"Likewise, spray-can warriors will not hold back the progression of LGBT-plus rights here in the north. These views are not representative of the majority of people in Northern Ireland and they will not be tolerated."

Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney also condemned those responsible for erecting the banner, describing it as "reprehensible in this day and age".

"Over the summer the largest, most vibrant, colourful Pride parades took place across Ireland, and thousands of people have also taken to the streets in support of Acht Gaelige," he said.

"The majority of MLAs and people in the north support marriage equality and language rights being extended to the north. They are fed up to the back teeth with this sort of vile bigotry and intolerance."

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