Londonderry: CCTV cameras for city cemetery to tackle grave vandals

Graveyard
Image caption Ornaments and a statue were damaged during an attack in June

CCTV cameras are to be installed at Derry City Cemetery in a bid to stop anti-social behaviour.

Headstones were smashed over the weekend causing distress to relatives. It was the third such incident in as many months.

In April, police said up to 20 headstones and memorials at Derry City Cemetery were damaged.

The Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown said installing the cameras was the right decision if it gave families comfort.

"I suppose that the awkward answer is that young people will learn how to behave responsibly when adults around them behave responsibly.

"How do we ensure that we look after those sites which are most precious to us? We need a community response," said Bishop McKeown.

"So yes we need the CCTV cameras and I agree with that. Anything that will enable people to feel the cemetery is a safe place to go is very important."

Derry City and Strabane District Council said it will also carry out security patrols of the grounds.

"Totally distraught"

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell, who has been speaking to families, said it was an important move.

"One grave damaged is one too many and the shock waves it sends out through the community is totally wrong.

"I spoke to the workers at the city cemetery and I also spoke to some of the families. Totally distraught.

"It's a very precious place for them and for someone to come along and desecrate that, it can have a long term effect on people," he said.

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