Local politicians have reacted with fury over the weekend, after a much loved tourist spot was blighted by some pro-Russian graffiti. The message, which glorified the Vladimir Putin-led invasion of Ukraine, has been described as a ‘despicable’ act of vandalism.
Pro-Russian graffiti spoils tourist site
The Dark Hedges in County Atrim, Northern Ireland – a popular walking spot that featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones – was subjected to the offensive scrawling. The spray-painted taunt reads: “Z Glory to Russia”.
The Z symbol has been used as a show of support for the invasion of Ukraine, and hammers home the partisan views of these vandals. However, the regional community has not taken kindly to this unsolicited show of support for Putin’s aggression.
What’s particularly galling for County Antrim and its residents is that they’ve recently welcomed an influx of Ukrainian refugees. For them to be confronted by this graffiti is, according to the DUP’s Mervyn Storey, ‘completely at odds’ with Northern Irish values.
‘An insult to our community’
Storey has since issued a statement on the matter, vowing to get the pro-Russian message scrubbed away immediately, and he reiterated that his constituency will continue to support and rehome Ukrainian refugees.
“This is a wanton act of vandalism at one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic location. It is completely at odds with the warm welcome our local community provide to tourists from all over the world who come to see what the Dark Hedges and the North Coast have to offer.”
“This week I was pleased to be able to welcome refugees from Ukraine into my own church community. It is despicable that they should have to encounter this type of behaviour glorifying Russia’s oppressive campaign of terror in their homeland.”
“It’s wrong and it is unacceptable. I will be working closely with local authorities and the PSNI to ensure this graffiti is removed immediately and those responsible held to account”Mervyn Storey