School targeted by the “Keep Irish out” sign responds with a statement emphasizing “respect” for all traditions

A primary school in Co Down has stressed the importance of respect after a placard reading ‘Keep Irish out of our children’s classrooms’ was left on its grounds.

Signature also noted that it came from “the parents,” and the PSNI has confirmed it is investigating the matter as a sectarian hate crime.

The sign also included a reference to another elementary school in the area, saying they were “not welcome”.

Cumran Primary in Clough, which is not an Irish language school but offers tuition for those who wish to learn, said it became aware of the sign on Monday and it “was removed immediately”.

In a statement to the newspaper through the education authority, the school said: ‘We are aware of a poster that was placed on school premises on Monday 30 January. Upon learning of this, the poster was immediately removed.

“The PSNI and other relevant authorities have been notified, so it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“We support the educational ethos where young people of all abilities, traditions and backgrounds are brought up in a caring and nurturing learning environment where respect for others comes first.”

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard criticized the poster as “a clear attempt to intimidate school children”.

“It is utterly disgraceful that a sign has been put up outside a local school in Clough attacking children learning the Irish language,” said Mr Hazzard.

“There is no place for racist threats in our society and this sign is a clear attempt to intimidate school children. It’s particularly eerie and concerning that this sign named a local school. Those responsible should stop now. I urge anyone with information about this sign to report it to the police.”

SDLP Council Member Hugh Gallagher said whoever was behind the poster “does not speak for the people of Clough”.

“It’s really discouraging that a school in our area is being attacked in this way,” he said.

“There is no place for sectarianism in our society and it is particularly disappointing that this has happened in Clough where I know of a great deal of good cross-community and cross-agency work.

“I have contacted the police about this incident and they are continuing to investigate who is behind it. I’m sure whoever did this doesn’t speak for the people of Clough who only want to live in peace with their neighbors.

“It is the first incident of this nature that we have seen in this area in a long time and I would urge anyone with information about what happened to contact the police and assist them in their investigation.”

The PSNI said: “Police are appealing to anyone with information regarding the incident, which we are treating as a sectarian hate crime, to contact 101 quoting reference number 393 dated 01/30/23.” School targeted by the “Keep Irish out” sign responds with a statement emphasizing “respect” for all traditions

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