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Bishop Noel Treanor speaks of 'shock and disgust' at attacks on Jewish graves in Belfast

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

THE Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor has expressed his shock and disgust at attacks on Jewish graves in Belfast.

About 10 graves in the Jewish section of the City Cemetery on the Falls Road in west Belfast were damaged last Thursday evening.

Police are treating the attacks as a hate crime.

Some of the graves in the cemetery, which is maintained by Belfast City Council, date back to the 1870s.

In 2016, 13 graves in the Jewish plot were damaged in similar attacks.

Bishop Noel Treanor said yesterday he was "shocked and disgusted to hear that, once more, a number of Jewish graves were attacked".

"I extend my heartfelt support to all the families and the wider Belfast Jewish community who have been affected and deeply hurt by this incident," he said.

Bishop Noel Treanor has spoken of his shock at attacks on Jewish graves in Belfast. Picture by Ann McManus

"These senseless acts of vandalism violate the sanctuary of the cemetery and they display a total lack of respect for the dead and the families of the deceased who are left distressed by these incidents.

"The targeting of these Jewish graves is particularly distressing for the wider Jewish community in Belfast. Such anti-Semitic and discriminatory actions, motivated by prejudice, have no place in a modern tolerant welcoming society.

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

"As a diocese, we stand firmly alongside our sisters and brothers in the Belfast Jewish Community as we express our revulsion in the face of this destruction and in calling for greater respect for all within society.

"I appeal to all who enter the City Cemetery, particularly young people, to recognise and respect the sanctity of this graveyard where loved ones are buried."

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