Woman (44) charged over latest attack on Newry war memorial
A 44-year-old woman has been charged with criminal damage after a war memorial in Newry was vandalised late on Thursday night.
At around 11.20pm police found that wreaths and wooden crosses that had been placed at the monument in the Sugar Island area had been thrown into a river.
The PSNI said the incident was being treated as a hate crime and that the woman was due to appear at Newry Magistrates' Court on December 19.
It is the second time in recent months the memorial has been attacked.
In July this year there was condemnation from all sides after more than a dozen poppy wreaths were thrown into the canal. They were later retrieved by a cross-section of the Newry community.
The latest attack was condemned by unionist and nationalist politicians, with DUP Assemblyman William Irwin calling it "another sad and despicable act of hatred against the memory of those who fought and died to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy today".
"This attack comes after the previous attack on the Cenotaph in July and also countless sickening attacks on the memorial at Narrow Water," he said.
"These sinister actions have caused great offence and hurt in the community.
"The message must go out that destroying poppy installations and desecrating war memorials is a crime that will not be tolerated and causes great offence."
Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy said: "Monuments and memorials are important places in communities and should be respected. There is no place for attacks like this in our society."
UUP councillor David Taylor added: "It's disgraceful and I would appeal to anyone who sees this sort of crime happening to report it to police immediately.
"There is support across all sections of the community to stamp this out and I would appeal to the community to assist in ending this disgusting behaviour."
PSNI Sergeant Lawson said: "Hate crime, in all its forms, is totally unacceptable. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we live in a society where diversity is respected."