GRAFFITI TARGETING Tanaiste Leo Varadkar with racist and sectarian abuse in south Belfast is being treated as a hate crime by the PSNI.
A series of threats appeared on a wall of a shop located at Drumart Square in the Belvoir Estate.
According to a PSNI spokesperson the graffiti was likely written on the wall sometime between 6pm on Friday and 10am on Saturday.
Titled "An Ode to Leo Varadkar", it read:
We have a noose, we have a tree
Just need a neck, whose will it be
Set foot in Ulster, cross that line
We guarantee that you will hang
The graffiti has since been painted over.
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald was among those to condemn the “vile” graffiti.
“Vile, shameful attack on @LeoVaradkar,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Threats and intimidation driven by sectarianism and racism must be faced down by all of us. Together.”
— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) January 30, 2021
Her concerns and condemnation were echoed by Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.
“Shocked at the disgusting graffiti targeting Leo Varadkar which I condemn, as will the majority of people across the community,” O’Neill tweeted.
“This is a hate crime motivated by prejudice. It’s also criminal damage and anyone with information should contact police who must investigate.”
The SDLP’s South Belfast MP Claire Hanna also criticised the graffiti.
“These vile words and views, all those intent on relighting sectarian and racist fires, also need to be tackled just as swiftly and completely,” she said.
Sinn Fein’s West Belfast MP Paul Maskey also spoke on the subject, stating there is “no place in society for such threats and hatred.”
He said: “It has now been removed but those responsible for this hate crime in the first place should be held to account.
“Anyone with information on those responsible should forward that to the PSNI.”
Anyone with any information about the incident should call officers at Lisburn Road on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference number 450 30/01/21.
Reports can also be submitted online using the non-emergency reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.og