Northern Ireland

Belfast City Cemetery war memorial vandalised

Belfast City Cemetery damage
Image caption The memorial is believed to have been damaged at some stage over the weekend

A war memorial at Belfast City Cemetery has been damaged in an attack believed to have happened at the weekend.

It is thought the damage to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial at the Falls Road cemetery will cost thousands of pounds to fix.

It is believed a hammer or iron bar was used by the vandals.

They broke off a chunk of a wall which features the names of all the fallen buried in the cemetery. Graffiti was daubed on another part of the wall.

BBC NI reporter Rosie Billingham, at the scene, said that a significant piece of the nearby "Cross of Sacrifice" had also been broken off.

Altogether, she added, about eight blocks were damaged in the attack.

Some of the graffiti has now been cleaned up.

There are more than 370 war graves in the 101-acre burial ground.

Sinn Fein councillor Steven Corr, who is chair of the city council's parks committee, said those responsible should "catch themselves on".

He said council staff and local community representatives had worked in partnership to improve the cemetery.

"This is important not just to show respect for those visiting loved ones buried there, but it also helps attract thousands of tourists a year to an area which needs to utilise all its community assets to help boost its economic future," he added.

"This mindless attack is part of a recent upsurge in vandalism which we and the community are determined to tackle.

"The individuals involved in this attack need to catch themselves on and start contributing to their community rather than destroying it."