A Newry councillor has hit out at the vandals who have wrecked a number of graves, including those of four children, at a cemetery in the Co Down city.
Cllr Valerie Harte said her own mother’s grave was one of those damaged at the Monkshill site during two separate incidents last Thursday and again on Saturday.
“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,” the Sinn Fein representative said.
The first wave of damage is reported to have taken place during Thursday afternoon when 20 graves were desecrated.
Cllr Harte said crosses were pulled out of the ground and flowers and wreaths strewn on the ground.
Some lanterns on the graves were also smashed.
The councillor said a further incident occurred two days after the first.
She said the worst aspect of the vandalism was the damage to the children’s graves.
“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.”
Cllr Harte said she didn’t think young people were responsible as the crosses removed were heavy and well secured.
“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,” she added.