Northern Ireland news

Police treating damage to poppy wreaths at Narrow Water in Co Down as hate crime

Police say they are treating damage caused to a memorial at Narrow Water in Warrenpoint, Co Down as a hate crime. Picture by Pacemaker

POLICE are treating damage to poppy wreaths at Narrow Water in Co Down as a hate crime.

It is believed that the damage was caused to poppy wreaths near Warrenpoint on Saturday or Sunday.

They are laid in memory of 18 British soldiers killed by the IRA in 1979.

A PSNI spokesman last night said they are "treating this incident as a hate crime" and have appealed for "anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information that can assist with the investigation to contact officers".

The damage to the memorial was repaired yesterday morning.

The memorial in Narrow Water commemorates the soldiers who died on August 27, 1979, just hours after the Queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was killed in an IRA bomb attack on his boat in Co Sligo.

Wreaths at the Narrow Water site have been targeted numerous times over the years, including in November 2017 when floral tributes at the site were desecrated.

Writing on Twitter, Ulster Unionist councillor David Taylor condemned those responsible for the attack.

"Disgusted to hear that poppy wreaths at Narrow Water have been desecrated once again," he said.

"It is hard to comprehend the mindset of the sick individuals who carry out such a vile act. Unfortunately this has happened far too many times at this site."

Sinn Féin MLA Sinead Ennis also said: "This incident where wreaths at Narrow Water were damaged was wrong and I condemn it.

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

"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."

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