No vandalism involved at Ballyoan Cemetery

Sinn Fein Councillor Christopher Jackson has welcomed the clarity around the matter.
Sinn Fein Councillor Christopher Jackson has welcomed the clarity around the matter.

The Council and PSNI have confirmed that no vandalism has taken place at Ballyoan Cemetery following complaints from members of the public.

Council representatives and police officers visited the Waterside cemetery this morning (Wednesday) in response to complaints that relics and momentums were removed from a small number of graves there.

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said that the relics had been removed by Council grounds maintenance staff who were carrying out routine grass cutting and maintenance work at the Cemetery yesterday.

The spokesperson said that due to inclement weather conditions at the time, they were unable to complete the works or reinstate the relics to the graves.

Apologising for any upset caused, the spokesperson said Council was sorry if their actions caused any distress to the public.

The spokesperson assured the public that staff will be at the Cemetery today to complete the

work and reinstate the relics to the graves.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience and upset caused and endeavour to do what we can today to redress the issue.

“We are very mindful of the fact that the Cemetery is a place of rest and we will continue to work to ensure the area is kept clean, tidy and safe for the public to visit,” the spokesperson added.

The alarm was raised following a number of confirmed vandalism and desecration incidents across the river at the City Cemetery over recent months.

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson today welcomed confirmation that the situation at Ballyoan was actually a misunderstanding and not vandalism.

Colr. Jackson said: “I welcome todays news from the council in relation to concerns over Ballyoan Cemetery.

“I hope this news will put the relatives of those buried in the cemetery minds at ease.”