Sinister IRA graffiti is aimed at prison officers

Grafitti daubed on side of former police station in Stewartstown.
Grafitti daubed on side of former police station in Stewartstown.
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Graffiti naming three people as prison officers daubed on the side of the former County Tyrone police station in Stewartstown has been described as “sinister.”

Police are investigating the incident which is believed to have happened overnight on Monday.

The graffiti also says ‘Screws beware’ under the painting of a rifle and ‘IRA’.

Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson said he has raised the matter with the local PSNI commander.

“I totally condemn the appearance of this graffiti which is clearly designed to threaten and intimidate people - particularly the three who are named - alongside the letters ‘IRA’ and the image of a rifle,” he said. “Given the murders of Prison Officers David Black in November 2012 and Adrian Ismay in March 2016, any potential threat to officers has to be taken seriously.

“It is imperative that the police and the security services continue their good work to disrupt the activities of the organised criminal gangs who are still addicted to threatening and using violence, and that in the meantime, police and prison officers take steps to ensure their personal safety in the face of the ongoing threat.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Ronan McGinley has slammed those responsible.

Cllr McGinley said: “This offensive graffiti is utterly unacceptable in any society and must be removed at once.

“The people of Stewartstown have been working hard to prepare the town for the Bloom Awards and unfortunately there are a few people who want to intimidate people and deface the area.

“They in no way represent this community. Incidents such as this only serve to further division at a time when the community wants to move forward.”

Mid Ulster MLA and Policing Board member Keith Buchanan also condemned those responsible for the graffiti attack.

He said: “Last night there was a very sinister incident in which the slogan ‘IRA’ with a picture of guns, targets and three names were painted on the walls of the former Stewartstown Police Station. This type of activity is unacceptable. For those who have been targeted by this incident, it is deeply disturbing and worrying. They should not have to live in fear or with this threat put upon their lives.

“Those people go to work each day and should have the freedom to do so. How they go about their daily lives is in stark contrast to those responsible for this repugnant incident. They clearly have nothing positive to offer society, accept havoc and destruction.

“The incident in Stewartstown last night should receive the strongest condemnation from all sections of the community.

“In 2019, incidents of this nature should be something resigned to the dark days of our past. It should not be allowed the space to continue. I would therefore urge anyone who has any information, that they offer that to the PSNI.”

Local SDLP Councillor Malachy Quinn slammed the appearance of the graffiti and called for its immediate removal.

He said: “The sectarian graffiti that has appeared in Stewartstown is a disgusting attempt to intimidate people in this community. The faceless thugs who are responsible need to understand, and they need to be made to understand, that they are not wanted here and they aren’t going to drag us back.

“I have been in touch with the council already to request this is removed immediately. And I would ask anyone who saw anything suspicious to come forward to police as soon as possible. We all have a responsibility to challenge the evil of sectarianism in our society.”