Anger at grave vandalism in Newry’s Monks Hill Cemetery

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Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Community, News

Speaking about two acts of vandalism which occurred at Monks Hill Cemetary on Thursday 13th and Saturday 15th March, Sinn Féin councillor Valerie Harte, who’s mother’s grave was among those attacked spoke of her disgust to Newry Times.

Some of the graves vandalised in Monkshill Graveyard recently. Photo: Paul Mathers

“I am totally disgusted that anyone would deliberately damage a grave, however the fact that my recently deceased Mother’s grave was among those targeted makes it all the more devastating that this has happened on two occasions,” she stated.

In the first instance of vandalism, which took place on the afternoon of Thursday 13th March, about 20 graves were desecrated with crosses pulled out of the ground, flowers and wreaths strewn on the ground and lanterns smashed.

A similar attack took place on Saturday 15th March however, as Councillor Harte explained, the worst aspect of this attack is that the graves of four infants were among those targeted.

“For all of the families involved this is extremely upsetting however for the loved ones of four small babies whose graves were destroyed I can only imagine the pain and annoyance must be dreadful.

“We can think of no explanation for these attacks, no rationale and no motive.

“I would urge those who carried out these attacks to explain what they have achieved. I think they should be ashamed of themselves and I sincerely hope they never do this kind of thing again.

“I don’t believe that young people are responsible as these crosses, which many families place at graves until a proper headstone is ready, are heavy and are well secured in the ground.

Some of the graves vandalised in Monkshill Graveyard recently. Photo: Paul Mathers

Harte added, “The staff at Monkshill have been fantastic throughout this ordeal and have gone out of their way to tidy up as much as possible to spare families, I only hope they never have to do this again.”

Speaking on the official PSNI Newry & Mourne Facegbook page, a statement from the local police service read, “We can confirm we are investigating several incidents of criminal damage to property and graves in the [Monkshill] cemetery over the past few days.

“These are despicable acts of vandalism by individuals who have no respect or thought for their community or society in general.

The statement added, “We need the community to assist us to identify those responsible. Anyone with any information please contactus in Ardmore on 0845 600 8000 or if you prefer to give information anonymously make use of independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.”


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