Northern Ireland news

Graffiti on Milltown republican plot 'an outrageous act'

The vandalism at Milltown cemetery. Picture by Hugh Russell

VANDALS who attacked the republican plot at Milltown cemetery in west Belfast have caused distress to the families of those buried there, the MP for the area has said.

Graffiti was daubed at a memorial wall some time on Sunday night or the early hours of Monday.

While none of the graves were damaged, slogans were painted over a marble plaque and on stone paving.

The graffiti, saying 'Ulster forever' and 'F*** the IRA', was in green neon paint.

The plot is looked after by the National Graves Association and members were able to remove the graffiti from the marble plaque, but the stone paving will require specialist cleaning.

Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey said the desecration of the republican plot was "an outrageous act".

He said it appeared to be a sectarian attack.

"The Irish Proclamation at the memorial was spray painted and headstones were attacked.

"All graveyards are sacred places and should be respected.

"This attack is outrageous and does nothing other than cause distress to families whose loved ones are buried in the plot.

"I would like to commend the National Graves Association who tend to the republican plot and whose members are already involved in a clean-up of the graves.

"If anyone has any information about those responsible for this vile attack I would urge them to bring it forward to the police."

There are 77 republicans buried in the newer part of the plot, including hunger striker Bobby Sands and three IRA members killed in Gibraltar in 1988.

Mr Maskey urged people with information to go to the police.

Police said they are investigating the criminal damage and believe the sectarian graffiti had been daubed sometime between the evening of Sunday, May 29 and this morning.

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Northern Ireland news