Vandals cut off GAA goalposts
Vandals who sawed off part of the goalposts at a Co Down pitch being used by around 100 children have been labelled a "disappointment to their own community".
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Ballymartin GAC has been granted permission to use the pitches at a council-run facility in Kilkeel while the club's playing fields are upgraded.
But attackers targeted the pitches for a fourth time when they cut down the tall metal uprights sometime between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.
The word 'British' was also sprayed onto remaining part of the posts at the Carginagh Road pitch, which opened earlier this month.
John McArdle, Mayor of Newry and Mourne, said he was "astonished and disappointed" at the attack.
"There's an awful lot of work going on here between the two communities over the last 10 or 20 years. I would not want to see this escalating.
"This is probably the work of one or two individuals. They are not reflecting their community," the Mayor added.
A union flag was also placed on the posts and, in an earlier attack, sectarian graffiti was daubed on the clubhouse itself.
A spokesperson for the club said they were "disappointed with the recent intimidating action of others" and appealed to the wider community to get behind young people wanting to enjoy sport in "a neutral environment".
However, Independent councillor Henry Reilly described the attack as "predictable", as the use of the shared grounds had created ill feeling in the area.
"I did highlight this issue to my colleagues when they made this proposal, that people who have used this pitch for a long period of time felt that they had been neglected.
"There will be a section of the young Unionist Protestant community in this area who very much sees Newry and Mourne as a Catholic and GAA orientated council, and see themselves as being discriminated against and this is a direction reaction to that."
Police are appealing for information following "extensive criminal damage" at playing fields at the Carrigenagh Road.