Intimidation fears over north Belfast graffiti

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Racist and sectarian graffiti has appeared on walls in a loyalist area of north Belfast, not far from where 14-year-old Noah Donohoe disappeared in June.

Slogans attacking Catholics and the BAME community appeared in four areas around Queen Victoria Gardens, off Skegoniell Avenue.

It was suggested the graffiti was mainly directed at people viewing properties in the area.

Sinn Féin councillor Conor Maskey said the graffiti was a “repulsive and sinister attempt to intimidate families from moving into this area. There is no place in our community for these cowards and their thuggish actions,” he said.

Mr Maskey said the attack was the latest in a series of homes being attacked and daubed with sectarian and racist graffiti.

“Sinn Féin has been in contact with the PSNI to raise our very serious concerns around this ongoing campaign of intimidation against families in north Belfast,” he said.

Noah Donohoe, a mixed-race Catholic boy, was out cycling to meet friends when he disappeared a few hundred yards away from where this graffiti appeared. His body was found in a storm drain six days later.

It is suspected that Noah was chased, robbed and possibly killed by a gang motivated by racial and sectarian hate. In an ongoing campaign to secure justice, Noah’s mother Fiona has accused the PSNI of withholding information regarding the investigation.

SDLP councillor Carl Whyte said the graffiti was “outrageous and highly distressing”.

He said: “Racism has no place in our society. I have contacted the council to have this display of hatred removed and I call on anyone with information on those responsible to bring it forward to the police.”

“There is no place for any form of racism or discrimination in our society. We are trying to build a better and more shared North Belfast and displays of hatred like this one must be condemned unreservedly.”

ANTI-GAA

Meanwhile, there have been calls for the removal of a sectarian poster put up in County Tyrone. An anti-GAA poster was erected on a telephone pole in the Killyman area, which is near Dungannon. Although a predominantly unionist village, there is a GAA club located in the area.

It carries the words “the sporting wing of the IRA - not welcome in this area”. A similar sign was put up in Dungannon earlier this year.

SDLP councillor Malachy Quinn said he had received complaints. “They need to get it down as soon as possible,” he said. “All it does is incite hatred.”

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