Letter 'Z' | 

Letterkenny Cllr says anti-Ukrainian graffiti is causing grief and upset for refugees

The letter ‘Z’ has been daubed on walls and buildings near where Ukrainians are living

Some of the graffiti that has appeared in Letterkenny

The graffiti has caused upset in the town

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A local councillor in Letterkenny has said that anti-Ukrainian graffiti that has been appearing “more frequently” in the town is causing grief and upset for refugees who are living there.

The letter ‘Z’, which has become a symbol of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is often seen painted on their military vehicles, has been daubed on walls and buildings near where Ukrainians are living.

The repeated appearance of the symbol in the town prompted Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh to table a motion for Tuesday's meeting of the local municipal district where he asked the council to put a policy in place for dealing with the graffiti.

He said he was contacted by a lady working with Ukrainian families who told him how upset they were by the appearance of such graffiti in Letterkenny.

“It has been happening in other parts of the county but it’s getting more frequent in Letterkenny,” he said. “It’s causing upset and worry to the people from Ukraine that are living in town. It’s also a problem for the Tidy Town volunteers who have to go out and clean it up.

“One of the things that is happening is that some of the Ukrainian people in Letterkenny are volunteers for Tidy Towns and they are going out and seeing this and it’s obviously upsetting for them.

“And some of these people have lost family members in Ukraine.

The graffiti has caused upset in the town

“I’m not sure if it’s young fellahs messing, who don’t realise the gravity of what they are doing, or if it’s a deliberate act to cause tension and division.”

According to Cllr Kavanagh, there is one hotel and seven houses accommodating Ukrainian refuges who number around 1,700 throughout Donegal.

The ordinary residents of the town have be veenry good,” he stressed. “Some graffiti had appeared on Saturday night and by Sunday it had been painted over by local people.

“People may have their opinions about refugees,” he added, “but these are people who don’t necessarily want to be here. They are here because they fled a war situation.

"They very much appreciate being here in Donegal, and are happy to be living in the town. But ultimately they want to be in their own homes in Ukraine.

“And I’d make the point as well, that as Irish people we’ve had to leave our homes, during the famine for example, and we weren’t always welcome where we went.

"We’ve all heard of the signs saying ‘no Irish’ and so, considering our history, we should have a greater understanding

Cllr Kavanagh asked the council to work with the Tidy Towns committee on this issue adding they needed to send out a strong message that graffiti like this was totally inappropriate.

His motion was seconded by Cllr Donal Coyle who said this pro-Russian graffiti in Letterkenny had also appeared in other parts of the municipal district. he urged the council to liaise with the gardaí on this matter.

Mayor Cllr Donal Mandy Kelly said he too had seen the symbols around Letterkenny adding it was time to deal with such matters.

Donegal Live has reported that Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District is to use CCTV in an attempt to track down those responsible for the graffiti that has appeared in several locations around the town.

In its official response to the motion, Donegal County Council said it would consider this matter as part of the work of the Climate Action and Environmental Strategic Policy Committee in 2023.

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