Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Police investigate racist graffiti ‘hate crime’

Police have confirmed that an incident where racist graffiti was sprayed on the wall of a family home in Forkhill is being treated as a hate crime.

PSNI are investigating the disturbing attack which happened at the home of Briege Roe and her son Patrick on Tievecrom Road in the village sometime between 8pm on Saturday September 23rd and 7.30am on Sunday 24th September.

The sickening racist slur has been condemned throughout the community with the distraught mum and her young son inundated with messages of support after Briege posted pictures of the attack on social media.   Friends and neighbours immediately rallied around the family, helping to remove the offensive graffiti from the walls of their driveway, within hours of its discovery on Sunday morning.   

Mrs Roe revealed that the incident has left both she and her son terrified.  Branding the culprits “cowards” she insisted she would not be intimidated from her home and revealed that her 14 year old son – a Year 11 pupil at St. Paul’s High School – had experienced various forms of racism over the years, but none as sinister as last weekend’s attack.  According to his worried mum, the teenager, who starred alongside Liam Neeson in the 2016 film, “A Christmas Star”, has been left traumatised by the late-night attack and says they are both at a loss as to who could be responsible  for carrying it out.

Sinn Fein councillor Mickey Larkin slammed the incident as “absolutely disgusting” and said it was “to be condemned, not just by myself, but the whole community. It doesn’t reflect the thoughts or feelings of the people in this area.”

Hate crime: Racist graffiti was daubed on the garden wall of the family’s Forkhill home.

“There is no place in civilized society for this kind of intolerance. The community condemns those who would try to intimate any resident of this area. The family targeted are well known to myself and the community and we are standing shoulder to shoulder with them as they deal with this disgusting insult and slur,” added Mr Larkin.

“The PSNI are investigating this as a race hate crime and I would encourage anyone who may have information relating to this to contact either myself or the police. Ireland is a welcoming country. We embrace all nations, creeds and cultures. This community will not tolerate any attempt to intimidate or bully our friends and neighbours.”

Appealing for information, PSNI Inspector McAdam described the incident as “distressing.”

“Hate crime, in all its forms, is totally unacceptable. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we live in a society where diversity is respected,” he said.

“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area either on the Saturday night or the early hours of Sunday morning and who may have witnessed anything suspicious, or if you have any information that could assist our enquiries into this distressing incident, to contact police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference 544 of 24/09/17.

Breige Roe and her son Patrick.