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New bilingual ‘Welcome to District’ sign defaced in Newtownhamilton

'Languages, creed nor ethnicity should offend or threaten anyone in today’s society. We are better than that!'

A new ‘Welcome to our District’ sign featuring an Irish translation in Newtownhamilton has been defaced over the weekend.

The Newry, Mourne and Down District Council sign, which is situated on the Keady Road, has been daubed with the the letters ‘UDA’ and the Irish portion of painted over.

Posting images of the graffiti, on social media, councillor for the area, Barra Ó Muirí, commented that the “idiots” who committed the vandalism “clearly took offence at the Irish language element on it.”

The Sinn Féin representative stated: “In spite of all the great community work that goes on in the town, all the funding that is poured into cross-community projects and the fact that we are in 2021, there are still those who wish for Newtown to be defined as a divided community. Shame on them!

“Languages, creed nor ethnicity should offend or threaten anyone in today’s society. We are better than that!”

Councillor Ó Muirí said he had logged the vandalism as a “hate crime” with the PSNI and had been informed the graffiti would be removed.

He added: “Let’s try and be more tolerant and respectful of one another.”

Police confirmed that a report was made shortly before 4.45pm on Wednesday that a bilingual street sign had been defaced in the Keady Road area of Newtownhamilton.

They stated that the criminal damage, which was being treated as a “hate crime”, was believed to have been committed at some point over the weekend.

An appeal was made for anyone with information to contact police on 101, quoting reference 1434 of 27/10/21.

Alternatively, you can submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ or you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/

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