Belfast Telegraph

Paint attack on Lurgan war memorial 'attempt to heighten tensions'

The damage to the mural on Avenue Road.
The damage to the mural on Avenue Road.

A paint attack on a Lurgan World War One mural was an "attempt to heighten tensions," a DUP MLA has said.

The Somme Memorial on Avenue Road was daubed with white paint on Sunday night.

Police are treating the incident as a sectarian hate crime.

The Avenue Road Somme Society, which maintains the mural, said: "Once again, the ignorant and uneducated fools have attacked a memorial to our brave.

"This mural is historical and educational, and great words spoken by both sides of the community is something that we hold highly.

"Anyone with any information on this attack, please don't be afraid to pass it on to the correct people."

Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart said that the incident was intended to heighten tensions ahead of the marching season.

She connected the mural defacing to the burning of a 'Support Soldier F' banner in the town last month. Police described that incident as a "sectarian hate crime".

"I would ask for calm heads and not to get drawn into a tit for tat campaign. Someone may end up getting seriously injured and this needs to stop now," Mrs Lockhart said. 

"The paint will be removed and those who died in the battle of the Somme will continue to be remembered.

The ‘Support Soldier F’ banner that was erected in Lurgan which was removed and burnt
The ‘Support Soldier F’ banner that was erected in Lurgan which was removed and burnt

"It is especially disgusting in the run up to the commemoration of those who so bravely gave their lives at the Somme, British and Irish. We will continue to remember their sacrifice."

UUP MLA and former soldier Doug Beattie described the attack on the memorial as a "despicable act".

“When you stop to think about the horror our soldiers at the Somme actually went through it saddens me that thugs could come in and deface the memorial in an instant," the Upper Bann MLA said. 

"The mindless idiots who carried out this attack are the polar opposite of brave men commemorated by it."

Chief Inspector O'Connor appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

"This incident is perceived as a hate crime and I am appealing for anyone with information to please get in touch with police by calling 101, quoting reference 902 10/06/19," he said.

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