Councillor calls for security review after Jewish graves attack

Some of the damaged headstones in the Jewish plot at Belfast City Cemetery. Picture by Matt Bohill

A BELFAST City councillor has called for a review of security at cemeteries in the city after graves at the Jewish plot in the City Cemetery were vandalised.

Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers, who chairs the council's Cemeteries and Cremations Working Group, said he was "appalled" by the attack on 13 graves on Friday afternoon.

Headstones and surrounds were knocked over and smashed in the attack which police are treating as a hate crime.

Mr Rodgers said the vandalism was "another horrid act of anti-semitism against the Jewish community of Belfast who have given so much to the life and wellbeing of this city".

The cemetery is patrolled by park wardens working with community safety officers. But Mr Rodgers said security cameras may need to be installed.

"This isn't the first time that the Jewish graves have been vandalised and unless there is something done about it, it will happen again and again," he said.

"There have been other incidents of people either under the influence of drugs, or even distributing drugs within the confines of City Cemeteries, causing trouble and wrecking graves, but very few have been brought to justice.

"I'm not aware of the last time that someone appeared in court in relation to causing damage in one of the City Cemeteries. Unfortunately we may need to consider installing security cameras."

He said he would the committee was due to meet again in a fortnight.

Any review would include the City Cemetery, Dundonald, Roselawn, Knockbreda, Knock and Balmoral.

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