LOCAL councillors have condemned the vandalism of Irish language signs in North Belfast.

Four signs were vandalised with graffiti spray in Downview Park West in the Cavehill area but have since been cleaned.

SDLP councillor Carl Whyte said: “I cannot understand why anyone would want to vandalise Irish language signs in areas where local residents have supported their erection.

"These signs have passed through council’s dual language signage process and that should be respected. The signs targeted have now been cleaned and they will keep being cleaned for as long as this futile behaviour persists. I thank council and their staff for their quick efforts in having this removed.

“We have seen Irish language signage targeted on numerous occasions across the North in recent years, especially in rural areas and this is not something we want to see taking hold in our city. The only reason for defacing these signs would be prejudice and bigotry and we need to see it stamped out."

Sinn Féin councillor Brónach Anglin said there was "no excuse for the vandalism".

“Unfortunately incidents such as this are indicative of the treatment of the Irish language by some in society. Bilingual street signs go through a rigorous process at City Council  and are there at the request of residents.

“I’d appeal to anyone with information about this incident to bring it to the PSNI.”

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: "We have had one report of vandalism to dual language street signs this week at Downview Park West where four signs had graffiti spray painted on to the Irish wording.

"All four signs were cleaned by residents before the council's contractor attended the site. One of the signs is damaged and will be replaced, while one other sign will have further cleaning work carried out by the council's contractor."