A DUP councillor has accused Sinn Fein of “politicising children and their safety” after road safety signs carrying slogans written in Irish, and the party’s logo, were erected in Glenavy.
Red signs with road safety messages such as ‘SLOW’ and ‘CHILDREN CROSSING’, written in English and Irish, and the Sinn Fein logo underneath, have appeared on lampposts and telegraph poles in the village in recent days - a move Alderman James Tinsley claims will damage community relations in the area.
Alderman Tinsley, the leader of the DUP group on Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, said a number of the signs have been erected “at the entrances to the village and near the Protestant Hall and Methodist Church on the Main Street.”
He posted pictures of some of the signs on Twitter along with the message: “Very disappointed that SF have politicised children and their safety in this way. As a councillor for the area I can confirm I have reported this to road service and asked them to take immediate action.”
Speaking to the Ulster Star, he said: “If they want to reduce the speed of cars driving through the village and take steps to improve pedestrian safety then I am all for that, but there are ways of going about things and this isn’t it.
“I raised this matter with Roads Service last night and they have told me that these signs are illegal and will have to be taken down.
“This is very clearly political. It is a PR stunt and they are using children to do it.”
Stressing that no-one from Sinn Fein has approached him about road safety concerns in the village, Alderman Tinsley added: “A number of prominent nationalists in the area have contacted me to express their disgust at the erection of these signs.
“There are good relations in village and they feel this is trying to hype things up and will be damaging to community relations within the village.”
The Ulster Star contacted Sinn Fein about the signs, but there had been no response from the party at the time of publication.
A spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure confirmed that the signs are illegal and said Sinn Fein have agreed to have them removed.
“Local officials have been advised that signs were erected in Glenavy as part of a road safety awareness week in conjunction with the local Sinn Fein constituency office,” the spokesperson said.
“As the signs are not prescribed under the Traffic Signs Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997 they are illegal and should be removed.
“DFI Roads has contacted Sinn Fein this morning and they have agreed to have these signs be removed.”