Belfast Telegraph

Memorial vandalism treated as hate crime

By Adrian Rutherford

Police are treating vandalism at Belfast City Cemetery as a hate crime.

Two military memorials and a Cross of Sacrifice were damaged during the attack. A screen wall at the cemetery was also damaged with paint and graffiti.

The Cross of Sacrifice is a symbol of commemoration that was designed for Britain's Imperial War Graves Commission shortly after World War One.

Police said they were unsure exactly when the vandalism took place, but it comes at a time when the world is remembering the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.

Alliance councillor Maire Hendron said: "I am deeply saddened that these memorials have been damaged at a time when we are commemorating all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War One.

"Many people from different backgrounds across these islands joined the conflict. The commemoration of World War One does not belong to any one group, we should all remember those who lost their lives."

Meanwhile, a memorial to three Scottish soldiers in north Belfast has been attacked again.

'ONH' was painted over the tribute to teenage brothers John and Joseph McCaig, and their 23-year-old colleague Dougald McCaughey. The off-duty soldiers were lured to the area and shot by the IRA in March 1971.

It is the third time the memorial has been attacked this year.

PUP councillor Julie Anne Corr said: "The continuous vandalism of this memorial demonstrates that a very real hatred towards the unionist community still exists in the minds of many republicans."

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