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Friday, 30th April 2021

Mindless vandalism at Loughcrew Neolithic tombs condemned

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Some of the damaged stones at Loughcrew.

Many people living in the Boyne Valley region have a very special love for the ancient monuments that are a fascinating and valued feature of the landscape and a priceless part of our heritage.

Unfortunately there are also those who have no respect or love for them whatsoever as is evidenced by certain mindless individuals defacing the rock art, which is thousands of years old, by scratching their names and idiotic messages over them.

The latest attack of vandalism was discovered by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the National Monuments Service (NMS) earlier this week and, like right-thinking people around the world who would be familiar with the monument, they are deeply dismayed.

“The scratching of graffiti across elements of the various passage tombs is the latest in a series of acts of vandalism at the national monument site which is accessible year round to the public.

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“Initial investigations have been carried out to determine any appropriate measures that may be taken to mitigate the damage to the Neolithic burial monument and investigations are continuing” they said in a statement.

“The OPW and NMS will be gathering all available evidence in relation to this incident in order to assist An Garda Síochána with the prosecution of those responsible.”

Condemning these mindless acts of vandalism, Minister Patrick O’Donovan, TD, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said:

“The Loughcrew cairns are passage tombs of great antiquity. They are part of our cultural inheritance and I am shocked that some of the ancient carved stones at this heritage site have been recklessly damaged by graffiti. I appeal to anybody with information in relation to this incident to contact the local Gardaí to help find the culprits.”

Minister O’Donovan added: “Together with our colleagues in the National Monuments Service, we are preparing a campaign for the month of June to raise awareness of the significance and vulnerability of our beautiful monuments, which is vital to preserve them for future generations.

“I hope to have the opportunity to visit Loughcrew soon and to see for myself some of the most beautiful examples of Neolithic art in Ireland that can be found there.”

In response to a pattern of ongoing destructive behaviour at the heritage site, the OPW has engaged the services of a security company which will carry out a patrol of the hilltop each evening.

Previous incidents at the site had seen the visitor counter and the guides’ hilltop cabin vandalised, signage at the site removed and protective fencing, erected to comply with public health restrictions, torn down by persons unknown. Antisocial incidents have been notified to An Garda Síochána and Gardaí are aware of anti-social behaviour at the heritage site.

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