Belfast Telegraph

Criminal damage to Narrow Water memorial a 'hate crime'

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Criminal damage caused to poppy wreaths at the Narrow Water memorial in Warrenpoint is being treated as a hate crime.

Damage to the memorial was caused at some point between Saturday and Sunday.

Writing on Twitter, Ulster Unionist councillor David Taylor said he was "disgusted" to hear that the site had been attacked once again.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Taylor said he understood the damage would be repaired in the coming days.

"I’ve actually lost count now of the number of times that such an attack has taken place at Narrow Water. It appears the frequency of these attacks is increasing," he said.

"I certainly think the vandalism is organised, it has happened on too many occasions for it not to be organised. It is clear it is an effort to raise tensions.

"It is clear the vast majority of people in the local community who condemn the desecration of the wreaths at Narrow Water. Unfortunately there is still a small minority existing in the local community who carry out these acts." 

Sinn Fein MLA Sinead Ennis said she condemned the vandalism of the wreaths.

"There is no place for attacks like in our society," she said.

"Monuments and memorials are important places in communities and should be respected.

"I would encourage anyone with information on this incident to contact the PSNI."

The memorial in Narrow Water commemorates the 18 soldiers killed in two IRA bomb blasts on August 27, 1979.

Each year the anniversary of the event is marked at the site by members of the local community and family members of those killed in the attack.

It has been targeted numerous times over the years, including in May 2017 when wreaths and crosses at the site were desecrated.

Last month wreaths placed on a memorial on Bridge Street in Kilkeel, Co Down, were damaged by vandals and thrown into a nearby river.

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to contact police in Ardmore Police Station on 101, quoting the reference 943 with the date 08/07/2018.

Information can also be given anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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