Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod this week
A look at news from around Ireland
GAA Pitch Targeted
AN underage GAA pitch that has found itself the target of a sectarian campaign has been attacked once again. The Gaelic grounds on the Carginagh Road near Kilkeel have suffered a number of sectarian attacks since opening last month.
The site, which was previously a soccer pitch, is being temporarily used by underage members of Ballymartin GAC while their own pitch is redeveloped.
Vandals have previously erected British flags and sprayed graffiti at the grounds. The most serious attack took place four weeks ago when heavy cutting equipment was used to sever the metal uprights on the goal posts, reducing them to the size of soccer nets.
Newry and Mourne council erected new posts and the children continued to train on the pitch. However vandals struck again, cutting down the new posts.
South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane said the attack shows that there are still some people who cannot tolerate Irish culture.
“Over the 12th period we hear from Unionist community and political leaders about tolerance of their culture and tradition, yet at the same time it is obvious that Nationalist culture is not afforded the same respect," she said.
"The Ballymartin GAA Club provides a sporting environment for young people and I would appeal for the local community to ensure that their training area remains free from vandalism."
Mourne councilor Brian Quinn said the campaign against the pitch had sickened local people.
“This can be described as nothing other than sectarian vandalism and has really sickened people living in this area," he said.
The PSNI said that they are investigating all incidents at the pitch.
Kid Grave Outrage
A FORMER mayor of Antrim whose first born son tragically died at birth has blasted a decision by the Northern Trust which will see parents banned from leaving mementoes on the graves of their children.
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) councilor Paul Michael lost his baby son after his wife Angela began to experience difficulties during labor. Unfortunately, baby Paul did not survive.
Currently the tiny baby graves in Belmont cemetery are covered with tributes to much loved and missed children. However, the decision will mean that parents will only be permitted to leave floral tributes which will be removed every two months.
It is understood that the decision was made to keep the graves looking tidy. Left gobsmacked by the abrupt decision, Michael said he was “shocked” that the trust was “interfering in families' expression of grief.”
“Any death is sad," he said. "But the death of a baby or a child is something else altogether. There is no rhyme nor reason, no justification for it.
“Leaving mementoes for a much loved and missed child is an expression of grief for a family. To not be allowed to do that will be devastating and will force them to relive the loss all over again."
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