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Narrow Water ‘hate crime’ investigated

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

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ULSTER Unionist Councillor, David Taylor, has blasted the desecration of poppy wreaths at Narrow Water Castle on Saturday night, calling it a "hate crime".
Cllr Taylor expressed his fury after remembrance wreaths placed for the 18 soldiers killed in the 1979 Narrow Water massacre were ripped apart and thrown into nearby hedges at some stage on Saturday evening.
He said, "I am truly disgusted that once again poppy wreaths have been desecrated at the Narrow Water site where 18 soldiers were murdered by the IRA in 1979.
“It is difficult to comprehend the sickening mindset of the individuals who perpetrated this vile act and I know that this most recent incident will be condemned by the vast majority of right thinking people within the local community.
“Unfortunately incidents of this nature have occurred far too often at Narrow Water, highlighting that there are still those within society who are determined to inflict further pain upon those who lost loved ones through evil acts of terrorism. The perpetrators of this hate crime are driven by a petty sectarian mentality."
The Bessbrook councillor said that the incident would not deter those who are determined to pay their respects to the soldiers who laid down their lives at Narrow Water "in service of our country".
He continued, "Their brave Service will never be forgotten and I have no doubt there will continue to be visible displays of remembrance placed at Narrow Water."
SDLP councillor Gary Stokes, condemned the desecration of the floral tributes, saying it was "very sad" that any person or persons would feel compelled to commit such an act.
Cllr Stokes said: "I think personally that it's very sad that any commemoration of the dead - whether it's someone's grave or a memorial where people have died - is tampered with. It's very sad that somebody has decided because of their own politics or whatever that they would destroy a wreath.
“It's no different than going onto a grave and destroying a wreath or throwing it away. We live in a society where most people respect the dead and respect graves and, at the end of the day, that's where those people were killed, that's where they met the end of their lives, so, for someone to come along and lift a wreath is very sad," said Councillor Stokes.
A PSNI spokesperson confirmed that the PSNI are treating the incident as a hate crime.
They said: "Police are investigating the report of criminal damage to a memorial at Narrow Water in Warrenpoint.
“It is believed that damage was caused to poppy wreaths at the scene sometime between Saturday 7and Sunday, July 8.
“Police are treating this incident as a hate crime and are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information that can assist with the investigation to contact officers in Ardmore Police Station on 101 quoting reference number 943 08/07/18.
“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."

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