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'No Irish No Gay' banner hung over motorway in Northern Ireland

Police removed the banner and are investigating it as a hate incident with a racial and homophobic motive.

2018-10-20

A banner reading "No Irish, No Gay" was mysteriously hung over a motorway in Northern Ireland on Friday (October 19). 

The banner was hung over the M1 and was first spotted by journalist Amanda Ferguson who shared a photo of it on Twitter.

Alongside the image, Ferguson wrote: "Hate mongers at their work again. This anti-Irish, homophobic banner has appeared on the M1 between Junction 10 (Oxford Island) and junction 9 (International Airport)." 

Ferguson reported the banner to the police who later issued a statement on the incident. They said: "Police received a report of an offensive banner on a bridge over the M1 motorway between junctions nine and 10.

"Officers have removed the banner and the matter is being treated as a hate incident with a racial and homophobic motive. Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at Lurgan on 101." 

Twitter users slammed the banner and called it "blatant homophobia". Meanwhile, according to ITV News, Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney said the banner was "reprehensible". 

He said: "Over the summer, the largest, most vibrant, colourful Pride parades took place across Ireland, and thousands of people have also taken to the streets in support of Acht Gaeilge. This sent a clear message that the tide is changing." 

SDLP politician Pat Catney also slammed the banner and said the views expressed do not represent the people in Northern Ireland.

He said: "For too long, anti-Irish rhetoric was deemed acceptable across these islands. These days are long gone and despite the best efforts of some, they aren't coming back. Likewise, spray can warriors will not hold back the progression of LGBT+ rights here in the North. These views are not representative of the majority of people in Northern Ireland and they will not be tolerated."