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Calls for tighter security at historic Co Armagh graveyard

There have been calls for tighter security at an historic Co Armagh graveyard following a number of incidents in recent months.

Headstones in the Shankill cemetery in Lurgan were smashed in recent weeks in the latest in series of incidents.

A Lurgan pensioner was left distraught when she found her parents’ headstone in destroyed.

Sinn Fein’s Liam Mackle has called on Council to improve security.

“There have been a number of incidents of mindless vandalism and attacks on graves in the historic Shankill Graveyard over the past number of months,” councillor Mackle explained.

“I have been working with council officers to try to improve security at the graveyard. This is appalling and the whole community is rightly outraged.

“If anyone has any information about these incidents I would urge them to pass it on to the PSNI or contact myself. This has to stop.

“The graveyard dates back to the 1600s and is part of the heritage of our town, these attacks are attacks on us all. We must all stand together to oppose and catch these mindless idiots.”

A Council spokesperson said they are “aware of the recent damage at Shankill Graveyard and is currently exploring options to help reduce the likelihood of vandalism in the future”.

Meanwhile, police are also investigating the latest spate of incidents.

“It was reported a number of gravestones were damaged, however, it’s not known exactly when the damage was caused,” said Chief Inspector Jon Burrows.

Adding: “Criminal damage is never acceptable, however, this is particularly upsetting for those who spend time tending graves of their loved ones only to find them vandalised.

“If anyone in the area is concerned about antisocial behaviour or any sort of criminal activity, please contact us on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference 512 of 14/12/18.”

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