27 July 2000 Edition

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Graves Association refused compensation over damaged graves

The Northern Ireland Office has refused compensation to the National Graves Association over the destruction of headstones in the republican plot in Milltown cemetery.

In the attack which took place in January of this year 22 headstones were damaged or destroyed and had to be replaced at a cost of £10,000.

However the Compensation Agency of the NIO declared that as it couldn't be proven that more than three people were involved in the attack compensation under criminal damage legislation would not be paid out.It was on the advice of the RUC that the Compensation Agency acted.

At the time Liam Shannon of the National Graves Association accused the RUC of complicity in the attack. Shannon received a call from the Irish News saying that an attack had happened and went to check the plot. At this point there was no damage.

He then received a call from the RUC saying that damage had been done to the plot and on checking the plot first thing the next day found the broken and damaged stones.

At the time Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Hartley called on the RUC at Andersonstown RUC barracks, which has video cameras overlooking the Republican Plot, to release any video evidence that would clear up the matter. The RUC refused.

Two months later a teenager involved in spray painting a British War memorial in Milltown was arrested and charged by the RUC within hours of the attack.

Now Frank Glenholmes of the Association says they may appeal the decision, ``it is clear given the extent of the damage and the short time it took to carry it out that a group of people was responsible'', he said.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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