DUP and Sinn Fein representatives in Dungannon have spoken of their disgust at a warning to landlords not to rent their properties to “foreign nationals”.
The graffiti, which has been daubed in black letters on a white wall at the entrance to Moygashel village, reiterates words that originally appeared on a large sign in the area in January.
The news comes as Dungannon has been named the council district with greatest change in racial make-up in the UK over the last 10 years, and just a week after this paper reported on the lack of housing available to migrants working in the area.
DUP councillor Kim Ashton has condemned the sign, saying: “I don’t support it whatsoever, [even] the previous sign that had gone up with the same message.
“Obviously this time the people have taken the action to actually paint it on so that it can’t be easily removed.
“It’s certainly not what the community of Moygashel wants [as] the message coming into the village,” she added.
“A lot of good work is going on out in Moygashel.
“It’s hard whenever you have an element trying to perceive Moygashel in a way that the community certainly doesn’t support.
“So it’s just really trying to raise tensions in the area, and I know from working with the community very closely that it’s not the views of the wider community.”
Dungannon’s Deputy Mayor, Sinn Fein’s Dominic Molloy has also voiced his anger at this “blatant naked racism”.
He told the Times: “I’m utterly disgusted and condemn this in the strongest possible terms.
“This can’t be described as graffiti nor the random act of one individual - these purpose made signs, [were] erected in a very purposeful manner with the intention to intimidate both property owners and those who wish to rent property.
“This clearly is orchestrated and organised by a group or groups who think they can hold our community to ransom.
Councillor Molloy, added: “I appeal to local people, community leaders and elected reps to make a stand, show some leadership and have these signs removed immediately and condemn this activity without reservation.
“This is blatant naked racism, there can be no attempt at dressing this up in any other way.
“Sinn Fein will be making representations to the PSNI to demand that this type of hate crime is addressed and dealt with in the strongest possible way.”
Also speaking on the incident, Area Commander of the PSNI, Chief Inspector Jane Humphries, said: “It is disappointing that a small minority of people are engaged in this type of behaviour, but local police would like to reassure the public that our priority is to keep communities safe and to reassure them that we can act quickly and effectively.”