Councillor condemns memorial vandalism
The damage caused to a memorial wall in a Belfast graveyard has been described by a loyalist politician as "the worst act of violence I've seen".
Councillor Frank McCoubrey spoke out after 12 plaques on a memorial stone were destroyed and another 30 had to be removed following the incident at the Shankill Road cemetery.
The stone book was put up in March 2010 by Belfast City Council after years of local lobbying.
Mr McCoubrey said: "This memorial was erected after a long campaign from Shankill residents and Senior Citizens' Forums and to think that somebody has come in and destroyed it is disgraceful.
"I'll be speaking to the relevant department about increasing the graveyard's security."
Local resident William Smith, who provides tours of the graveyard, said the perpetrators were attacking their own history.
"This garden was a new addition to enhance the graveyard, so these people are damaging their own heritage."
A spokeswoman for Belfast City Council said: "It's extremely disappointing that anyone would deliberately cause damage to the memorial garden. It shows a complete lack of respect for the bereaved families."