DONEGAL County Council says the cost of repairing or replacing road signs damaged in a spate of vandalism will cost at least €5,000.
Dozens of place name plates across the county have been targeted by spray painters daubing out the English spelling while leaving the Irish version intact.
Chair of the Irish Language Committee on Donegal County Council, Councillor Micheal Mac Giolla Easbuig, said he “applauded” and encouraged” the activity, comments that have caused uproar among some of his fellow elected members.
Councillor Michael McClafferty said that rather than promote or enhance the Irish language, the vandalism was “dragging it into the gutter”.
Now Donegal County Council has revealed the cost to the taxpayer of repairing the damage caused.
A spokesperson for the local authority said that at least 30 signs had been defaced although that figure was likely to be higher given the size and rural nature of the road network.
The cost of fixing the problem will run to the thousands of euros.
“To date the council has identified around 30 bilingual signs that have been vandalised with spray paint across the county since the start of August, although given the extensive size of the public road network – 6,450 km – there are likely others yet to be encountered.
“The council has begun removing the graffiti in some municipal districts and have programmed the removal in others. It is estimated that the overall cost on council resources to arrange removal is in excess of €5,000.
“The matter of the vandalism has been reported to the gardaí in different locations.”
Confirming that officers have been alerted to the ongoing vandalism, a spokesperson for An Garda Síochána added, “Gardaí are aware of these incidents involving road signs throughout the county of Donegal and enquiries are ongoing into the matter.”