Northern Ireland news

Bi-lingual sign daubed with loyalist graffiti

The sign had been defaced several times this year

LOYALIST graffiti has again been scrawled across on a Co Tyrone road sign featuring the Irish language.

`UDA' was daubed on the sign denoting the boundary of Mid Ulster Council and the Irish words were crossed out with black spray paint.

The sign had been defaced several times this year.

Sinn Féin Fermanagh South assembly member Colm Gildernew condemned the attack and reiterated that it underlines the need for an Irish Language Act.

"This attack in Caledon is the latest in a series of attacks on Irish language road signs across this area in recent months," he said.

"The vandalism of this sign is indicative of the attitude of some in society who show a complete disregard and lack of respect for the Irish identity.

"This type of vandalism is completely unacceptable and again brings into sharp focus the need for protection of Irish Language rights through Acht na Gaeilge.

"Anybody removing, destroying or vandalising bilingual signs is involved in criminal damage and should be reported to the PSNI."

It was attacked in May and in February.

There is tension in the district after the nationalist-controlled council voted in April to introduce a licensing scheme for bonfires located on land it controls.

It is believed to be the first time a council in the north had moved to regulate bonfires through such a scheme.

Under initial proposals, organisers have to ensure that "no hazardous or toxic materials are collected, stored or burned" and that "no flags, emblems or effigies are burned".

They also have to provide public liability insurance.

Following the move, several posters appearing to threaten council staff were put up in loyalist areas across the district.

However, in Novermber, consultants reportedly recommended the licensing scheme should go ahead after more than two-thirds of respondents to a public consultation endorsed the plans.

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