Northern Ireland news

CCTV being examined after 10 headstones damaged in Jewish plot at City Cemetery

CCTV is being examined after 10 headstones in the Jewish plot at the City Cemetery in west Belfast were damaged by vandals
Marie Louise McConville

CCTV is being examined after 10 headstones in the Jewish plot at the City Cemetery in west Belfast were damaged.

The damage to the graves and the surrounds at the Falls Road cemetery is being treated as a hate crime.

Sinn Féin councillor Steven Corr and a number of party activists visited the site to clean up the damage today.

Mr Corr said it was the latest in a series of attacks on headstones in the cemetery "over the last period".

"These unbelievable attacks on the headstones of dead people needs to stop," he said.

"This appears to be a deliberate targeting and will be treated and recorded as a hate crime.

"CCTV is being looked at."

Ten headstones in the Jewish plot at the City Cemetery in west Belfast were damaged by vandals on Thursday night

A spokesman for Belfast city council, which operates the cemetery, said it is "committed to working with the PSNI and engaging with the local community to try to address issues of anti-social behaviour and vandalism at City Cemetery.

"We have also deployed officers from our Safer Neighbourhoods team at key times to deter groups of people gathering in the cemetery and engaging in anti-social behaviour".

He added: "As part of our City Cemetery heritage project, we are planning to create a new visitor centre and improve facilities. It is hoped the increased footfall will also help to deter vandalism."

Inspector Róisín Brown said she was "appalled at these criminal acts"

"The damage to these graves shows a total lack of respect for others and will have a significant impact on individuals and families within the Jewish Community," she said.

Inspector Brown, who appealed for information, added: "We are investigating this incident as a hate crime, but we need help from the local community in west Belfast to hold those responsible to account for their actions."

Ten headstones in the Jewish plot at the City Cemetery in west Belfast were damaged by vandals on Thursday night

CCTV is being examined after 10 headstones in the Jewish plot at the City Cemetery in west Belfast were damaged by vandals

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