Belfast Telegraph

MLA slams ‘faceless’ culprits behind sinister graffiti spree

Graffiti in the Laurelbank estate in west Belfast
Graffiti in the Laurelbank estate in west Belfast
Police at the scene of a shooting incident in the Spamount Street area of north Belfast
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

Graffiti in west Belfast threatening drug dealers, supporting dissident republican terrorism and criticising Sinn Fein as "sellouts" will be quickly removed, an MLA has have vowed.

On Tuesday night the slogans 'Join CIRA', 'PSF (Provisional Sinn Fein) sellouts!' and 'Brits out not sell out' were daubed on a wall outside Laurelbank estate in Poleglass.

Last week, graffiti that said 'Join the IRA' and 'Drug dealers will be shot' was sprayed at the side of a building in Springfield Crescent.

Commenting on the sinister messages dotted around west Belfast, Sinn Fein MLA Fra McCann said responsibility lay at the feet of young people and the slogans do not frighten his party.

"The graffiti at Springfield Crescent has been put up a number of times," he said.

"It's young people just deciding to put these slogans up.

"Obviously, you're always concerned that people proceed to put slogans like that up, but the people that are doing it probably aren't putting any thought into it, except to be anti-Sinn Fein.

"As for the graffiti in Poleglass, that's very much the same thing.

"We will work with the local council and whoever else to make sure there is a speedy removal of the graffiti."

Mr McCann added: "Slogans like this do not frighten us, we do not fear them and we have a record of standing up and challenging anybody who would do that."

The West Belfast representative described those behind the messages as "faceless" and said they only do their work under the cover of darkness.

Mr McCann added that similar graffiti has been painted in the area on multiple occasions and that residents just take it "for what it is".

"There are some young people in these areas who have deemed to deface a wall, but we just need to make sure it's speedily removed," he said.

SDLP councillor Brian Heading said he will be reporting the slogans to Belfast City Council in order for them to be removed as soon as possible.

He added that whoever is behind the graffiti is doing nothing but tarnishing the image of their own communities.

Meanwhile, a shot was fired at a house in north Belfast in what has been described as a "reckless attack".

One man who was inside the property on Spamount Street in the nationalist New Lodge area at the time was not injured.

Police are working to establish a motive.

The incident happened on Tuesday night at around 10.55pm and may have involved a shotgun.

In a statement, the PSNI said: "Thankfully, a man, who was the only person in the house at the time, escaped injury.

"The man reported two males running off onto Edlingham Street, in the direction of Stratheden Street.

"One male is described as wearing a light grey hooded top and the other is described as wearing a darker coloured hooded top.

"Damage was caused to a window and to the inside of the property.

"This was a completely reckless attack and we are fortunate that the occupant of the house, or indeed anyone else who may have been in the vicinity, wasn't injured," the PSNI added.

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