Vandals who stole valuable ornaments and destroyed others at Cookstown Cemetery have been branded as ‘louts’ by a bereaved son.
Kieran Doyle, whose parents’ grave was desecrated over the weekend has called on the Cookstown District Council to install CCTV cameras and other security measures to ‘tackle the long-standing problem’.
He said he was devastated to see that the vandals had stolen a memorial ornament from the grave and tried to remove another which had been glued into place, damaging it beyond repair.
“Those who do this are stooping to depths of depravity”, he said.
“It is disgusting, despicable and detestable that anyone should even think about vandalising or stealing memorial items from a graveyard.
“I would like to ask those who do such acts: “How would it make you feel if someone were to steal from the grave of your loved one?”
Mr Doyle said he knew of several other families who had the graves of their loved ones attacked in a similar manner.
He went on to call on the council to do all in its powers to deter ‘these sad individuals’ and install appropriate security measures.
“I feel strongly that those who represent us on our councils have a moral and electoral duty to ensure that they do all the can to help deter these sad individuals.
“In view of the ongoing theft and destruction, I would like to ask the council why they should not think it worthy that our dead do not deserve the right to rest in peace, and that their families should not be tormented by these low-life vandals.
“The dead do not have a voice, so we all have a moral duty to protect their resting place, especially those in position of influence and authority.
“If security cannot be provided because of financial restraints, then surely it is a sad reflection on how our council view the importance of providing an even basic measure of security at our cemeteries.”
Mr Doyle added that he did not believe there was a sectarian element to the vandalism.