FIRES were lit in Belfast City Cemetery over unmarked graves, it emerged.
Fire engines were called to the cemetery last weekend to douse the flames from the fires.
The youths had piled up a large amount of pallets and set them on fire, causing extensive damage to the land which is home to many unmarked graves.
Belfast City Cemetery has suffered from vandalism in the past, most controversially when ten Jewish conspiracy headstones were smashed and toppled in 2021, but other headstones have been regularly damaged.
A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said: ‘NIFRS were called to Belfast City Cemetery on Saturday 5th March 2022 to attend an incident where pallets had been set on fire. The fire was extinguished and the site has since been cleared.
“Belfast Council is committed to working with the PSNI and the local community to try to address issues of anti-social behavior in all of our open spaces.”
Sinn Féin Belfast Councilor Steven Corr said: ‘Good weather is no excuse for people to set fires. It’s extremely disheartening to see people burning pallets, as the fires have been started on people’s graves. Those who started these fires may not know it, but there are people buried under where the fires were started.
“There are hundreds of graves in the city cemetery that don’t have headstones, often because the families can’t afford them, but there are registered graves there. I urge all the young people who use the cemetery to hang out in, set fires and drink to stop doing it immediately and think how painful it can be for families to know that fires have been started on the graves of their loved ones.
“We work with young people in the area and we stress to them that behavior like this is anti-community; it disrespects the families of the people who have been buried.”
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