Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein MP slams vandals who desecrated Belfast war graves

Damage to the war graves at Belfast City Cemetery
Damage to the war graves at Belfast City Cemetery
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A Sinn Fein MP has hit out after vandals damaged a dozen war graves in Belfast City Cemetery.

Headstones at three war graves were damaged on Friday and a further nine graves targeted on Monday.

Sinn Fein MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey condemned those behind the latest desecration of graves in the cemetery.

"This is simply unacceptable and it's totally uncalled for that a graveyard has been attacked yet again," he said.

"The people who are buried there, regardless of their background, have the right to rest in peace and obviously many will still have family and friends who come to visit their graves.

"Those responsible for these attacks need to be ashamed of themselves.

"It's just mind-blowing how anybody thinks it's a good idea to damage a grave."

The cemetery, at the junction of the Falls and Whiterock Roads in the west of the city, is maintained by Belfast City Council.

Mr Maskey added: "My party colleagues have been speaking to the council to try and get measures put in place which will hopefully prevent this type of activity because it can't go on."

Police have issued an appeal for anyone with information to get in contact.

PSNI Chief Inspector Christian Bradley said: "To damage any grave is appalling and I can assure the public that we will conduct a thorough investigation in a bid to bring those responsible before the courts, but we need the community to help us.

"I would appeal to anyone with any information that could assist with our investigation to contact police in Woodbourne on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 592 07/10/19."

Information can also be provided anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Belfast City Cemetery contains a plot with 274 Commonwealth war graves containing personnel who served in the Second World War and 296 from the First World War.

In recent years graves at the cemetery have been the target of repeated anti-social behaviour and attacks.

In 2016 13 Jewish burial plots were vandalised.

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