Pig’s head and racist graffiti at Belfast leisure hub

A Belfast City Council employee washes racist graffiti off the wall at  Inverary Community Centre in east Belfast
A Belfast City Council employee washes racist graffiti off the wall at Inverary Community Centre in east Belfast

A pig’s head and racist graffiti have been left at a community centre in a suspected hate crime.

The incident happened in the early hours of Saturday at Inverary Community Centre in east Belfast.

The graffiti included Nazi swastikas and the phrases “no Muslims” and “no blacks”.

Cleaning staff from Belfast City Council have since removed the slogans.

In a statement, PSNI Inspector Ian McCormick said: “At approximately 5am it was reported to police that graffiti had been daubed on the walls of a building and a pig’s head had been placed against the shutters of the building.

“Hate crime, in all its forms, is totally unacceptable. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we live in a society where diversity is respected. If you or someone you know is the victim of a hate crime please contact police or your local support agency.”

In a Facebook post, DUP councillor George Dorrian condemned the attack, writing: “It is disappointing to think that there are still those who creep around in the middle of the night, damaging property and attempting to stir hatred against those who have joined our community.”

Cllr Dorrian said he had asked the council to remove the graffiti, and added: “If anyone has any information on those responsible I would ask that they contact the PSNI immediately.”

The latest incident comes just weeks after slogans warning landlords to rent property to “locals only” appeared in the Dunraven Avenue and Glenbrook Avenue areas of east Belfast.

PUP councillor John Kyle described the Inverary vandalism as “disgraceful” and “not representative of the local community”.

Alliance councillor David Armitage has also condemned those responsible.

“It is both disgusting and maddening to think there are people who will go to such lengths to whip up tensions in our community,” he said.

“This is not the sort of behaviour we wish to see in east Belfast. The vast majority of people here welcome the growing multicultural nature of our city and wish groups behind such incidents would vanish, as they speak for no-one.”

Mr Armitage added: “To leave a pig’s head and racist graffiti is not just an attack on the Muslim members of our community but on all of us.”

“I would urge anyone with information on this to contact police immediately.”

The nearby East Belfast Football Club issued a statement which said: “We are extremely angry that someone has decided to vandalise the local community centre next to our facilities. We have players from all ethnic backgrounds playing for our club and we reject all forms of racism and sectarianism.”