1 May 2003 Edition

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Burns and Moley monument vandalised

South Armagh Sinn Féin Councillor Elena Martin has expressed outrage at the unprovoked act of vandalism perpetrated against the Burns and Moley memorial monument at Donaldson's road Creggan in the early hours of Easter Tuesday morning.

C "The monument was erected several years ago with the broad support of the local community to commemorate the lives of Volunteers Brendan Burns and Brendan Moley, who died close by in an accidental explosion in 1988," she explained. "The two Volunteers were held in high esteem by the local people and their deaths were regarded as a deep tragedy across the entire district.

"The grief and sorrow experienced at that time by the family, friends and comrades of the two Brendans was compounded when hundreds of RUC and British soldiers launched a full scale attack on the funerals and several mourners were injured, some seriously."

Councillor Martin continued: "As a symbol of the broad community identity and empathy with the two fallen Volunteers, several thousand people march to monument each year at the time of their anniversary. Recently, Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness was the main speaker at the event.

"It is ironic that normally the commemoration passes off without much outside attention, however, it was noted that on this occasion a well-known loyalist spokesperson did register several complaints to the media about the holding of the commemoration. It was also noted by local republicans that the Fergal O'Hanlon monument on the outskirts of Monaghan Town was also vandalised over the Easter period."

The local commemoration committee is already planning the necessary repairs to the monument, says Martin. "No coward slipping around the country lanes of south Armagh in the dark of night, full of false courage and armed with spray paint or concrete blocks, will be allowed to besmirch the memory of our heroic dead or how we choose to remember them," she concluded.

An Phoblacht
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Dublin 1