In The News

Headstones are damaged at a Belfast cemetery

Headstones are damaged at a Belfast cemetery

VANDALS have damaged a number of headstones in a cemetery in Belfast.

The incident happened in a section of the City Cemetery on the Falls Road where a number of graves of members of the armed services who died in World War I and World War II are situated.

A total of fourteen headstones were targeted by the vandals. One of the memorials was badly damaged (see photo).

A war memorial cross adjacent to the graves had graffiti daubed on it, but this has already been removed following a cleaning operation.

It is unclear when the damage was carried out. Officials only became aware on Tuesday (April 22) that the graves had been desecrated, but it’s thought the vandals may have struck at any time from Tuesday (April 15) onwards.

The damage has been widely condemned.

Historian Tom Hartley, who was the author of a book about the City Cemetery,   said people had been left outraged by the vandalism.

He said: Communities living around the cemetery in the Whiterock, St. James, the Rock Streets and Turf Lodge have a great respect for the dead and get annoyed when any grave is desecrated. So they don’t want to see this and are as hurt by any grave being damaged as if it were that of their own relative.”

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which cares for the headstones, described the attack as “deeply distressing”.

The Commission said it would be working closely with Belfast City Council to ensure the cemetery was restored “to a fitting standard”.

Police hunting those responsible have appealed to the public for information. 

The PSNI want to hear from anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the cemetery. Officers based at Woodbourne PSNI station are carrying out the investigation. They can be contacted by telephoning 101 or information can be passed on anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

View previous In the News items: Tributes are paid to popular politician, Generous response in wake of marathon tragedy, Tributes are paid to actress Edna Dore, Speak up and save a life, Private funeral is planned for Mickey Rooney, Country musician Arthur Smith passes away, Comedy writer Bob Larbey passes away, Surfing pioneer Hobie Alter passes away, Writer Sam McAughtry passes away, Internet sensation Peter Oakley passes away, Tributes are paid to actor James Rebhorn, Funeral takes place of James Ellis, Vandals damage graves in Newry, Voice actor Hal Douglas passes away, Belfast mourns passing of James Ellis, Actress Sheila MacRae passes away, Surgeon and author Sherwin Nuland passes away, Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia passes away, Tributes are paid to Maria von Trapp, Actor Malcolm Tierney passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Christopher Malcolm, Actor Ken Jones passes away, Waltons actor Ralph Waite passes away, Tributes are paid to veteran comedian Sid Caesar, Former actress Shirley Temple passes away, Funeral takes place of Belfast actress Leila Webster, Songwriter Anna Gordy Gaye passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Maximilian Schell, Actor Eric Lawson passes away, Tributes are paid to Pete Seeger, Slight rise in number of deaths in Northern Ireland, Stargazer John Dobson passes away, Actress Sarah Marshall passes away, Tributes are paid to Sir Christopher Chataway, Tributes are paid to Lord McAlpine, Tributes are paid to Roger Lloyd Pack, Thieves target urn containing ashes of Sigmund Freud, Actress Alexandra Bastedo passes away, Poet Amiri Baraka passes away, Tributes are paid to Paul Goggins, Entertainment mogul Run Run Shaw passes away, Tributes are paid to film producer Saul Zaentz, Local charities hold Christmas appeals, Actress Joan Fontaine passes away, Tributes are paid to screen legend Peter OToole, Tributes are paid to novelist Colin Wilson, Final preparations are made for funeral of Nelson Mandela, Actress Eleanor Parker passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Barry Jackson, Pianist and composer Stan Tracey passes away, National Memorial Service held for Nelson Mandela, Actress Mary Riggans passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Paul Walker, Actress Jean Kent passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Lewis Collins or Leading crossword setter Araucaria passes away

If you have a relative or a friend who has passed away and feel they should be mentioned in our In the News section, then please email us.