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CCTV call for Irish language sign attacked by loyalists

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Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown

A CALL has been made for secret CCTV cameras to be used in a bid to stop repeated loyalist attacks on the most damaged Irish language sign in Northern Ireland.

Statistics show that the bilingual sign on the edge of Ballyward village, outside Banbridge, has been attacked more often than any other Irish language sign in the country.

Now Alliance councillor Patrick Brown is calling for the installation of secret CCTV cameras to prevent the attacks and the "sectarian vandalism" of other dual language boundary signs in South Down.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council has once again replaced the Ballyward sign.

In the past four years loyalists have taken an angle grinder to cut this particular bilingual sign in half.

They have also repeatedly paintbombed the sign and even etched out the Irish language part of the sign which has been erected at the council boundary on the A50 outside the village of Ballyward, close to the famous Dolly's Brae.

Since the boundary signs were first erected in the district in the summer of 2016, loyalists have carried out a series of sustained attacks, using paint, spray cans, builder's plastering cement and even a blow torch to deface and destroy the signs.

Mr Brown has demanded an end to the "senseless" attacks and believes CCTV should be used.

"The council has a bilingual signage policy. Whilst some may not like this, the language is part of our shared heritage and should be respected.

"Defacing or damaging Irish language road signs is nothing but sectarian vandalism and amounts to criminal damage," said Mr Brown.

"These signs will be replaced as they are necessary to mark the boundaries of the district. Therefore those responsible are costing ratepayers hundreds of pounds and should be ashamed of themselves.

"I think it is time council invested in hidden CCTV at these locations and would urge anyone who has any information to come forward to myself or the police."

Sunday Life