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James Nesbitt delivers keynote address at a rally organised by Ireland's Future at the 3Arena. PA
hate crime

Police in the North treat graffiti aimed at actor James Nesbitt as a hate crime

The actor recently delivered a keynote address at an Ireland’s Future event in the 3Arena.

POLICE IN THE North are treating graffiti aimed at actor James Nesbitt as a hate crime.

The PSNI received a report of graffiti on a wall in the Bushmills Road area of Portrush on yesterday.

The graffiti is believed to have been written on the wall sometime between 5pm on Tuesday and 7.30pm on Wednesday evening.

Images of the graffiti have been circulating online and it reads: “1x king, 1x crown, no pope in our Town James Nesbitt.”

Cross hairs are also daubed on the wall next to Nesbitt’s name. 

The appearance of the graffiti follows Nesbitt’s keynote speech to a recent ‘Ireland’s Future’ event in the 3Arena in Dublin.

Ireland’s Future is an organisation that advocates for a united Ireland.

Speaking at the event, Nesbitt – a Protestant from a unionist background – said it was time for a “new union of Ireland”.

Nesbitt also visited a search site for one of the ‘Disappeared’ at Bragan Bog in Co Monaghan last month, and remarked:  “The families don’t want revenge, they just want their loved ones home.”

columba-mcveigh-search Oliver McVeigh (left) brother of Columba McVeigh and James Nesbitt (right) visiting the search site at Bragan Bog, Co Monaghan. PA PA

Former DUP leader Arlene Foster condemned the attack, though pointed out that she “fundamentally disagrees” with Nesbitt regarding his stance on Irish unity.

Foster said: “Freedom of speech means the right to give your opinion no matter what others might think.

“I totally condemn this attack on James Nesbitt even though I fundamentally disagree with him. People need to learn to disagree without resorting to threats.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald labelled it a “sinister effort to silence debate and intimidate people from joining the discussion on Irish unity”.

Ireland’s Future board member and Queen’s University professor Colin Harvey described the incident as “absolutely shocking and appalling”.

He added: “Thugs and threats must not be permitted to derail legitimate and respectful constitutional conversations here.”

A PSNI spokesperson said enquiries are ongoing.

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