Mystery of missing 'Welcome to NI' signs

Published Tuesday, 07 August 2012
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Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has called on the Department of Regional Development to replace two 'Welcome to Northern Ireland' signs which have been stolen at the Co Fermanagh/Co Monaghan border.

Mystery of missing 'Welcome to NI' signs
One of the signs which has been welcomed by some, but not by others. (© Sinn Féin)

The signs were erected to greet motorists driving into the region from the Irish Republic and also to inform them of the change from the ROI speed signage of kilometres per hour to the NI imperial system of miles per hour, according to Roads Minister Danny Kennedy.

Ordered by the UUP minister, they have been erected in areas such as the A38 between Strabane and Lifford, the A4 between Belcoo and Blacklion, and the A46 between Enniskillen and Donegal.

The existence of the signs has not been welcomed by everyone though and a war or words has erupted in Fermanagh.

Mr Elliott, MLA for the area, said such signs are "a common sight at land borders throughout the European Union," before adding that the signs alert motorists to a change in traffic signage, road speed limits and driving regimes.

While the former UUP leader has 'welcomed' the signs, Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has not extended a 'fáilte' to them.

Speaking to UTV, he claimed that the Roads Minister had the signs put up "without consultation".

Mr Flanagan said that it was the rationale behind the signs that had upset many people in Fermanagh.

"This is a political project from Danny Kennedy to reinforce partition in some way."

He said that attempts made over the years to introduce border signage had been met with hostility.

However, Mr Kennedy has accused objectors of "getting carried away".

"This is not a deliberate attempt at causing a constitutional crisis," he said.

The UUP Minister described the negative reaction to the signs from some political representatives as "deeply regrettable" and "a huge mistake on their behalf."

Mr Kennedy told UTV that he hoped all politicians would condemn the theft or destruction of the two signs.

Meanwhile, DRD have said that the stolen signs - which were located at the A34 between Newtownbutler and Clones, and the B36 between Roslea and Monaghan - will be replaced in due course.

The PSNI have confirmed that they are not investigating the theft of the signage.

© UTV News
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125 Comments
Realist in England wrote (619 days ago):
Jay - why would a republican be less offended by that? Even modifying your (grammatically dubious) suggestion by using the term '..tuaisceart na hÉireann' would still be offensive as it would still draw attention to partition, as per Kennedy's Baldrick-esque 'cunning plan'. Think about it - you must already be in the north of Ireland when you drive along these bits of road. Even so, it wouldn't be equivalent to having various "Welcome to Belfast" signs around the city centre (where people must already know that they are in Belfast). Such signs would merely draw attention to their pointlessness. The signs in question (and any alternative, bar a standard county sign) draw attention to the injustice of partition. They are not pointless - they are there to offend.
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (620 days ago):
Northern Ireland is a country, you say? Not according to your Lords and Masters at the UN..... The United Kingdom consists of two countries; England and Scotland, the province of Northern Ireland and the principality of Wales.
Mark in Belfast wrote (620 days ago):
jay - im not going to rise to your provocation. I am proud to be Irish & also British like my passport confirms. There is no foreign writing on it, and why would I betray my backround, upbringing & friends. Would you be happy to have all your public signs round Islington in every language except english? Nationalists in NI can call themselves Irish and get Irish passports, thats their right, but whatever they say makes no difference to the fact that they live in Northern Ireland, pay tax to the British Govt, get paid in pounds sterling, and get healthcare under the NHS unlike the republic. You are the one in denial mate... lol
jay in Islington wrote (620 days ago):
Mark you are in denial. The sign should also read Fáilte go dtí Thuaisceart Éireann. Be a proud Irishman. You are ALL IRISH in Ireland.....
Mark in Belfast wrote (620 days ago):
jay in islington -Ii was in fact being slightly sarcastic when I said to add "proud part of the UK" I may be Irish but NORTHERN IRELAND is still a different soverign country to the Republic of Ireland. Your apparent ignorance is your problem...
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