Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Blitz memorial may have to be replaced after latest attack

By Gareth Cross

A memorial to those who lost their lives in the Belfast Blitz may have to be fully replaced after repeatedly coming under attack.

The memorial on Hogarth Street in Tiger's Bay remembers those who died following Lutwaffe bombing in the area on April 16 1941.

Over 900 people were killed in total during the Belfast Blitz with over half the homes in Belfast destroyed during the attacks in April and May.

The plaque was first erected in the area in 2013 after receiving Arts for All funding and has been attacked over five times.

Last year the plaque had to be re-fixed to the wall after being removed and had a glass plate installed in an attempt to protect it.

However, local community activist and Chair of the Tiger's Bay PACT Forum Dean McCullough said the plaque may have to be completely replaced and have shatterproof glass installed following the latest attack.

He explained how the memorial came about.

"It's sad because we brought together alot of men, woman and young people to take part in a re-imaging process in our community," Mr McCullough said.

"We wanted to move away from old conflict related murals and paramilitary murals to more community friendly murals and we decided there was a need for preservation of local history.

"The Belfast Blitz is a key part of all our history and was mentioned alongside things like the Battle of the Somme and 1916, we asked people what they wanted to see and carried out education projects around the events."

Mr McCullough said that the plaque was a memorial to those from all communities who lost their lives.

"It affects Tiger's Bay and the New Lodge and affected people right across the divide and the island of Ireland, all families and all communities," he said.

"It's deeply disappointing for us, we are going to have to source more funding. We can't quite understand why this is being done because from our point of view this isn't a confrontational mural, it commemorates everyone affected.

"There is alot of anger and frustration in the community that this mural has been repeatedly targeted. We have also seen poppy wreaths around the mural being destroyed and defaced."

He called on those behind the repeated attacks to explain their reasoning.

"I'm not saying this is reflective of the wider communities that border Tiger's Bay but whoever it is carrying out these attacks seem intent on destroying this mural for whatever reason," Mr McCullough said.

"I would ask them to come out and explain why they are carrying out these attacks."

The Tiger's Bay Community Group confirmed that the attack on the memorial has been reported to the PSNI.

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