Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Memorial to IRA victims vandalised

A memorial to victims of the Kingsmills killing has been vandalised in a sectarian attack in South Armagh

A memorial to IRA murder victims has been vandalised in a sectarian attack in South Armagh.

It commemorates the Kingsmills killing in which 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead as they travelled home from work in 1976.

Sectarian graffiti was scratched into the plaster of the memorial, which is undergoing construction work.

Danny Kennedy, MLA for Newry and Armagh, said he was appalled.

Mr Kennedy, of the Ulster Unionist Party, said: "The republican cowards responsible for this desecration have once again shown the sectarianism that still spews from some sections of the community.

"Not content with the Provisional IRA having robbed the Kingsmills families of their loved ones in an act of sectarian savagery, Irish republicans have attempted to heap further pain on them by attempting to intimidate the workers erecting the memorial and then returning later to deface it."

The gun attack on January 5 1976 was one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The textile factory workers were travelling in a minibus along the Whitecross to Bessbrook Road in rural south Armagh when their vehicle was ambushed by up to a dozen gunmen.

The only Catholic in the minibus was ordered to leave the area while 11 of his Protestant work colleagues were gunned down. One man survived, but was shot 18 times.

Last year, an investigation by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) concluded that the IRA was responsible for the atrocity and that the victims were targeted because of their religion.

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police are appealing for information following an incident of criminal damage to a memorial in the Kingsmill Road area of Bessbrook on Friday 30th November. It was reported that sometime during the afternoon of Friday 30th November sectarian graffiti was scratched into the plaster on the walls of the memorial."

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