Sinn Féin MP slams 'sinister' sign outside primary school opposing Irish language

Sinn Féin MP slams 'sinister' sign outside primary school opposing Irish language

A SINN FÉIN MP has slammed a sign 'attacking children learning the Irish language' that was placed outside a Co. Down primary school.

Chris Hazzard, MP for South Down, branded the message as 'sinister'.

The sign, which reads 'Keep Irish out of our kids classrooms' [sic], appeared on Monday morning outside Cumran Primary School in Clough.

It adds: "St Malachy's not welcome at C.P.S. signed, parents."

The Irish News reports that staff from nearby Catholic high school St Malachy's recently visited Cumran ahead of the secondary school's open day.

The PSNI is treating the incident as a sectarian hate crime.

Mr Hazzard said he believed the message was intended to 'intimidate school children'.

"It's totally disgraceful that a sign attacking children learning the Irish language has been placed outside a local school in Clough," he said.

"There is no place in our society for racist threats and this sign is a clear attempt to intimidate school children.

"It's particularly sinister and worrying that this sign has named a local school.

"Those responsible should stop now.

"I would urge anyone with information on this sign to bring it forward to the police."

'Wise up'

Meanwhile, Colin McGrath, SDLP MLA for South Down, said the incident was not reflective of the local community.

"If indeed placed by adults they would need to wise up," said Mr Grath.

"This sort of behaviour can destroy community relations and set us all back a generation.

"Thankfully I have full faith this view is not representative of the majority in that area."

A statement from Cumran PS confirmed the sign was swiftly taken down on Monday.

"We support the ethos of education where young people of all abilities, traditions and backgrounds are educated in a caring and nurturing learning environment in which respect for others is paramount," it added.

Confirming the incident was being treated as a sectarian hate crime, the PSNI urged anyone with information to contact them on 101, quoting reference number 393 of 30/01/23.