Larne Cenotaph attack was 'hate crime', say police

Paint daubed on Larne War Memorial.
Paint daubed on Larne War Memorial.

An overnight attack which saw Larne Cenotaph splashed with paint is being treated as a hate crime, say police.

The monument next to St Cedma's Church was targeted some time between yesterday evening (Wednesday, December 6) and 8:30am today (Thursday, December 7).

"The incident is being treated as a hate-crime," said Constable Davison of the PSNI.

"If you have any information please contact police on 101 and quote serial 246 7/12/17.”

It is understood that a specialist contractor will be tasked with removing the paint from the cenotaph.

The cost of repairs is likely to run into thousands of pounds, said a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

“It’s very disappointing that this damage has been caused so soon after major refurbishment work," the spokesperson added.

"The full scale and costs of the damage are still being assessed; cleaning is due to get underway today and is expected to be completed by early next week.”

Meanwhile, DUP councillor Gregg McKeen said he believed the attack was a "direct result" of the council's decision on Monday evening not to go ahead with replacing the Easter Rising memorial in Carnlough.

"This is a despicable act which desecrates the memory of those who fought and died from both sides of the community," he added. "These people are just trying to stir up tensions in the area."

However, Cllr McKeen's comments were deemed 'ill-advised' by former Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan.

"I totally condemn the attack on the war memorial; I don't know how anyone could stoop so low as to attack it. It is sacrosanct and should be left alone," he said.

"But these comments only add to the division between nationalist and unionist people in Larne.

"If the council had taken on board the feelings of people in Carnlough, they would not have rushed through that decision on Monday night."