Sinn Fein has said that the destruction of bilingual Newry Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) signs in unionist areas of south Down shows total disregard for Irish identity.
A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “The removal of these signs is indicative of the attitude of some unionists who show a complete disregard and lack of respect for the Irish identity.
“Anybody removing, destroying or vandalising bilingual signs is involved in criminal damage and should be reported to the PSNI.
“I would urge unionist politicians in the area to show leadership and call on those who are involved in this criminal behaviour to desist.”
NMDDC and the SDLP were invited to respond to unionist complaints but did not do so.
But Newry UUP councillor David Taylor said unionist reservations about the signs had been brushed aside in the council chamber.
“The unionist community has expressed strong opposition to this policy of dual language signs in predominantly unionist areas within the district,” he said. “There is no doubt this policy is extremely divisive and I can testify to that from the numerous representations I have received from within the unionist community.
“It is my firm opinion it has been employed deliberately by republicans as an attempt to alienate members of the unionist community within our district.”
Mr Taylor said it is “only the tip of the iceberg” compared to a possible Irish language act.