A BELFAST councillor has hit out after a bilingual street sign was vandalised on Haypark Avenue in South Belfast.

The sign, which is at the junction of Sunnyside Street, was vandalised by having the Irish language part ripped off. The incident has been reported to Belfast City Council who have confirmed a replacement sign has been ordered.

SDLP Councillor for Botanic, Gary McKeown said the vandalism had angered local residents and expressed disappointment in the vandalism, stating whoever damaged the sign showed a lack of confidence in their own cultural beliefs.

Councillor McKeown said: "It's really disappointing that someone has decided to destroy the bilingual street sign on Haypark Avenue.

"I actually feel sorry for whoever did it as it shows a lack of confidence in their own cultural beliefs if they feel the need to vandalise things that matter to others.

"Aside from that, the Irish language belongs to everyone, so this is an attack on the entire community.

"I have had a number of constituents contact me about this, and have asked the council to repair the sign as soon as possible, as it's important that we respond quickly to mindless acts like this to put things right.

"I would urge anyone with any influence to direct those thinking about attacking bilingual signs to step back.

"It's only through mutual respect and a recognition of the diverse range of cultural beliefs that contribute to this city that we can move forward together as a community."