We’re ‘100% certain’ no one from Balnamore is involved in these attacks

Balnamore War Memorial was attacked on Monday and some wreaths and Union flag removed. inbm35-14s

Balnamore War Memorial was attacked on Monday and some wreaths and Union flag removed. inbm35-14s

The Balnamore War Memorial Committee met last night (Tuesday) to discuss the recent attack.

Sometime after 10pm on Monday, August 18, the War Memorial was attacked, poppy wreaths were strewn around with one stolen and the Union flag was cut down from the pole and taken.

At the meeting the Committee condemn the attack unreservedly and appealed for calm in the local area.

Chairman Chris Gray explained: “There is a lot of anger as this is the sixth sectarian attack in the last two months where flags have been taken. There have been three attacks in Millicent Avenue, one in Beechwood Drive and two flags taken in Red Row only last Monday.

“The committee is mixed from both religions and we strongly feel that these attacks are emanating from outside the local area. We are 100% certain no one is involved from the village.

“The War memorial was rebuilt eight years ago in memory of the Fallen from both World Wars. Local people from both religions helped build it and it was totally financed by the local community. We received no council grants, no Peace III grants and in all these years this is the first attack on it. That’s why we feel it’s outsiders carrying these attacks out.

“The committee appeal to these people or person to desist their activities as they’re raising tensions and are sectarian in nature. They’re actions won’t stop the memorial being repaired and the Union Flag will once again fly from it.

“The committee have met with police and local councillors and we, along with them, appeal for NO retaliation of any kind and we unreservedly condemn attacks on Memorials, Orange Halls, Churches or Chapels, indeed all places of worship.

“The committee wish to ensure the local public that the war memorial will be restored to it’s former glory and like before it will be fully accessible to the public.

“The War Memorial Committee wish to inform the local public that the cost of a new Union flag is in the region of £300-£400 so we will be collecting around the local area soon to help with funds.

“In closing the committee wish to put on record the speedy response of the PSNI when informed of the sectarian hate crime and to John Madden on his quick response and their door to door enquires only a few hours later. Any information no matter how small should be given to the PSNI or your local representative in the council.

“The committee wish to pay tribute to the brave men of the 36th and 16th regiments ‘on the going down of the sun and in the morn we will remember them’.”

After the series of incidents in Balnamore village, Ulster Unionist Cllr Darryl Wilson also spoken out to condemn the anti-social behaviour.

“In recent weeks there has been an increase in vandalism and anti social behaviour within the village.

“Vandals have entered the gardens of several properties at night to break and steal flags which have been flying during the months of July and August,” he added.

“Balnamore War memorial has also been vandalised. Wreathes have been stolen, and the Union flag cut down from its flag pole.

“I condemn these actions which are totally unacceptable and must be stopped with immediate effect. If anyone has any information relating to these incidents or any anti social behaviour within the Village , I would urge them to contact the PSNI.”

Police said they were appealing for information following a report of theft in the area, in which a Union Flag and poppy wreath were said to have been removed from the war memorial.

Police are treating this as a hate crime and are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone who has any information about the incident to contact them in Ballymoney Police Station on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.


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