WW1 memorial daubed with IRA slogan graffiti in north Belfast
A WW1 memorial has had paint thrown over it and daubed with IRA slogan graffiti in north Belfast.
It is the third time the European Great War Memorial has been attacked in the past weeks. In the most recent attack wreaths were stolen and flowers in the surrounding flower beds were ripped up.
The memorial was sprayed with IRA slogans, the tablet at the nearby Peace Tree daubed with paint and kicked over.
The tree itself was also sprayed with IRA slogans.
Police are currently investigating and anyone with information are asked to contact officers.
North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey who is also Honorary Vice President of the City of Belfast Branch of the Army Benevolent Fund condemned the attack.
He said: "Only in the last few days we have been marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, and next month we will commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. There is a growing recognition of the shared sacrifice across during the First World War.
"The attack on this memorial is a hate crime, motivated by nothing short of blind bigotry. The memorial has been subjected to repeated attacks over recent weeks in what is clearly a concerted campaign. Those who attacked the memorial are obviously ignorant of the fact that it is totally inclusive, given that it remembers German soldiers.
"This memorial was put in place through the hard work of the Army Benevolent Fund and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the ABF to ensure the memorial is restored and will continue to stand as a fitting memorial to those who died in the Great War"
Alliance north Belfast councillor Nuala McAllister called it a "despicable act".
She said: “It is utterly appalling anyone could resort to attacking a memorial to men who died serving their country in a world war.
“This was simply a despicable act of wanton vandalism and will result in nothing but revulsion across the community. It is vital we each have respect, a respect that was clearly not shown in this attack.
“I would urge anyone with information contact the police immediately.”
It comes as Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness paid tribute to the thousands of British soldiers killed on the battlefields of the First World War as part of his Somme visit.
Mr McGuinness claimed his trip was about "reaching out the hand of friendship to unionists".
He said it was a "sincere effort to recognise the human suffering and also the importance these events hold for the unionist section of our people".