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Vandals in attack on republican memorial at Milltown

SINN FEIN today slammed the culprits who destroyed a republican plot in west Belfast - hours after IRA man Tom Williams was buried after 57 years.

SINN FEIN today slammed the culprits who destroyed a republican plot in west Belfast - hours after IRA man Tom Williams was buried after 57 years.

Police were alerted to Milltown cemetery last night after a telephone call to a Belfast newsroom.

When officers arrived at the scene they found that over 20 granite memorial plaques in the plot were damaged, many of which were destroyed beyond repair or badly damaged.

It is understood the site is one of the new plots and contains the remains of leading republicans of the troubles, including the H Block hungerstrikers.

A police investigation is under way and forensic teams have already examined the scene.

Only hours before the incident, IRA man Tom Williams, who was hanged in Belfast's Crumlin Road jail, was laid to rest in a family plot in Milltown cemetery.

Despite the attack a special commemoration for the IRA man on is still expected to ahead on Sunday.

Sinn Fein today hit out at those who desecrated the Republican plot.

However, Sinn Fein assembly member Alex Maskey today disputed the series of events with the RUC: "At around 9pm yesterday I was contacted by a journalist who said that they had information the republican plot in Milltown had just been attacked. I contacted a member of the National Graves Association who went to Milltown, but there had been no damage to the republican plot. He was later contacted by a family member who said the RUC were at his door.

"He telephoned the barracks and was asked was he ringing about the damage to the republican plot? He returned to the republican plot in Milltown and found that the plot had been desecrated."

Meanwhile, police today appealed for anyone who saw anything suspicious at the cemetery on Tuesday evening, to call detectives at Woodbourne on (01232) 650222, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


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