Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Sinn Fein finds new Northern Ireland border signs hard to welcome

One of the signs on the Belcoo- Blacklion border

New ‘Welcome to Northern Ireland’ signs along the border have sparked a row between Sinn Fein and the DUP.

Nine signs have gone up in Fermanagh and Tyrone with more anticipated in Armagh and Down — against the recommendation of a Northern Ireland Tourist Board report.

Sinn Fein insists the money spent on the signs could be better put towards road repairs and improving public transport.

On Twitter the party’s Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Phil Flanagan protested: “People in this area don't want the signs, even if they cost nothing.”

But the DUP called on their power-sharing partners to drop the pretence that the border with the Republic doesn’t exist — and dubbed the attack “politically motivated”.

The DUP’s Alastair Ross countered: “Signs should be erected to indicate to people, but particularly tourists when they have entered Northern Ireland from the Irish Republic.”

Two of the signs have been taken down.

A Road Service spokeswoman said the signage has been placed at strategic border crossing points at a cost of £950. She said the signs which had been removed would be replaced in due course.

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