A Donegal county councillor says he not only applauds those behind a spate of graffiti attacks on placenames in Co Donegal but is encouraging them to continue.
Dozens of signs across Donegal, many of them in the Gaeltacht, have been daubed in red spray.
The attacks consists of red paints scrawled over the English name of the town or village leaving just the Irish name to be read.
Signs for a number of towns and villages and towns including Creeslough, Ballybofey, Letterkenny, Killea, Newtowncunningham, Lifford, Carrigans, Ballyliffin, Moville, Greencastle, Quigley’s Point, Carndonagh, Malin Head, Fintown and Muff have all been vandalised in recent days.
One local councillor said he is delighted the issue is being raised and has refused to condemn the graffiti as vandalism.
Chairman of the Irish Language Committee on Donegal County Council, Councillor Micheal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said he fully supports those behind the graffiti.
“I not only applaud them but I am encouraging them to continue to do so,” he said.
He added “We have vandalism on all sorts of signs around the county and nobody condemns it. But yet when somebody takes a stance on the Irish language we treat it as vandalism.
“I am delighted that this issue has been brought into the public domain and perhaps now we can have a public debate about it.
“In my opinion all signs in Donegal should only ever be in Irish in an effort to encourage the Irish language which is being eroded day after day.
“Gaelic is used by our councils and Government merely as a gesture and in a patronising way and it never gets the first place it deserves.”
He also added that many placenames in English across Donegal do no make any sense as they are simply derived from Irish versions of the names.
However, his fellow councillor has slammed the graffiti saying it is costing the taxpayer thousands.
Councillor Michael McClafferty said the attacks solve nothing in the Irish language debate.
He said “This ideology of thinking solves nothing at all, apart from putting pressure on the resource purse for new signs when required. And then we have to wait until funding becomes available in many cases. Locals get angry due to lack of progress.
“I would appeal to people who are behind this to stop at once and realise how senseless this is. And furthermore any ideas fuelling speculation would be better placed reported to your local Garda Station and let them address the situation accordingly.”