Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Milltown Cemetery gates set on fire by youths

West Belfast Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has condemned the 'disgusting behaviour' that saw the gates of Miltown Cemetery set alight.

It is believed traffic cones and a wheelie bin were placed behind the gates and set on fire on by a gang of youths on Friday, October 27.

Police said they had received reports of a group of youths gathered in the area.

Chief Inspector Kellie McMillan said: “This is a cemetery; a graveyard - a place for quiet reflection to peacefully pay respects to loved ones who are no longer with us.

“I cannot understand what any human person would feel could be gained from such thoughtless, criminal vandalism.  Police will be working with the community in west Belfast to prevent this behaviour and stop further hurt being caused to families and friends of those whose lives are remembered here. This is not acceptable behaviour and a robust response from policing and the criminal justice sector is required.

“I am appealing to parents and guardians to know the whereabouts of their children and who they are with, and to play a role in preventing them from becoming involved in behaviour which could see them end up with a criminal record.

Mr Maskey said: "This is unacceptable behaviour. Enough is enough. I’m calling on parents to stop their kids from hanging about the park and the graveyard at night.

"I'm sure those responsible for this unacceptable behaviour have relatives interred in Milltown like many of us."

"This is disgusting behaviour and I will be meeting with agencies over the weekend and early next week to try and get a resolution to this problem.”

Alliance Councillor Sian O’Neill  described the incident as “an attack on our whole community”.

“This was a disgusting attack on our whole community,” said councillor O’Neill.

“It is deeply sad to see the disrespect some people have for our dead, in what is supposed to be an area of respect. My thoughts are with the loved ones of those buried there, who may have been affected by this incident, and my thanks go to the fire brigade, who ensured the fire did not spread any further.

“Milltown is not a Council-owned cemetery but I hope the council will be able to work with the relevant agencies to help prevent a repeat of this disgraceful behaviour. I would also urge anyone with information on this attack to contact the police with it immediately.”

The Fire Service attended the scene and extinguished the blaze.

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