Disgust as Jewish gravestones desecrated in Belfast cemetery

Police have launched a hate crime investigation


An attack on gravestones in the Jewish section of a Belfast cemetery has prompted outrage from across the political spectrum.

Last Thursday’s vandalism, in which ten Jewish gravestones were damaged or toppled at the City Cemetery, also triggered a hate crime investigation by police.

Some of the graves date back to the 1870s and are in a walled-off section of the cemetery, which is often locked.

North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey told Belfast Live he was “disgusted and appalled to hear that 10 Jewish headstones have been damaged”.

He added: “This is a very sad day for Belfast. I have nothing but the highest regard for the Belfast Jewish community, which continues to have my full support. Those behind this appalling antisemitic attack are evil. A graveyard is a sacred place and should be respected as such. Those responsible are guilty of a most heinous hate crime.

“We had a similar occurrence five years ago, when 13 gravestones were damaged. I would encourage anyone with any information which may assist the police to pass it on.”

Steven Corr, a Sinn Fein councillor who visited the site, told Belfast Live that the attack was the latest in a catalogue of vandalism incidents at the cemetery.

He said: “This appears to be a deliberate targeting and will be treated and recorded as a hate crime. CCTV is being looked at.

“Parents need to impress upon their kids that the cemetery isn’t a playground or a place to gather. Parks, playgrounds and pitches are reopening and this damage and desecration of graves causes untold hurt and distress to all the families who have loved ones buried in the City Cemetery.”

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