The banner was hung over a motorway in Northern Ireland (Twitter)

A banner with the message “No Irish No Gay” has been removed from over a motorway in Northern Ireland.

The sign was hung over the M1 between Lurgan and Moira and is being investigated by the police as a hate crime.

A police spokesperson said: “Police received a report of an offensive banner on a bridge over the M1 motorway between junctions nine and 10.

“Officers have removed the banner and the matter is being treated as a hate incident with a racial and homophobic motive.

“Anyone with any information is asked to contact officers at Lurgan on 101”.

Sinn Fein politician Declan Kearney described the banner as “reprehensible”.

Same-sex marriage is illegal in Northern Ireland (Getty)

He added: “Over the summer, the largest, most vibrant, colourful Pride parades took place across Ireland, and thousands of people have also taken to the streets in support of Acht Gaeilge.

“This sent a clear message that the tide is changing.”

SDLP politician Pat Catney said the views held by those who created the banner were not matched by the rest of Northern Ireland.

Catney said “spray can warriors” will not hold back “the progression of LGBT+ rights” in the country.

People wave to the crowd at Belfast Pride 2017 (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland, although research has suggested nearly two-thirds of people in the country would like to see it introduced.

The research, published by Queen’s University Belfast earlier this year, involved interviewing 1,012 people from across Northern Ireland about their attitudes to various issues affecting the country, including gay marriage vote.

Some 63 percent of people surveyed supported same-sex marriage becoming enshrined in law in Northern Ireland.

Researchers also noted that half of Protestants interviewed supported gay marriage – compared to three quarters of Catholics.

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