WALLS and fences just off the Drumnascamph Road in Laurencetown were daubed with sectarian graffiti until Banbridge Disrict Council removed them last week. “IRA” was scrawled in yellow spray paint on one fence while “Brits Out” appeared on another. The letters “LRM” featured too - standing for Laurencetown Republican Movement.
But those living in the area insist the increasingly troublesome activities of young people - who they claim come from outside the area - are not down to sectarian or political beliefs.
“It’s pure badness, that’s what it is,” said a 63-year-old woman. “They don’t even know what republicans are or what republicanism is. We don’t want that kind of stuff being sprayed around here.”
Two weeks ago, just days after the Real IRA made a speech threatening PSNI officers across Northern Ireland, “All police are targets” was painted on a fence beside a house in the area.
A 15-year-old boy has since been charged with criminal damage in connection with that graffiti. He will appear at Banbridge Youth Court on May 16.
The graffiti drew condemnation from local politicians soon after and residents were keen to distance themselves from it when they spoke to the Leader. “This is nothing to do with sectarianism - I’d say they don’t even know what they are writing,” said a 68-year-old woman who has lived in the area for 15 years. The pensioner moved from Craigavon when anti-social behaviour there started to get worse but she said the problems in Laurencetown are worse than she’s ever experienced.
“I’ve never seen anything like what’s been happening here,” she said. “As for the graffiti it’s just ridiculous. I have always supported the police and everyone around here does. We need the police to keep us safe and things like that writing on the wall don’t help anyone.”