Belfast Telegraph

Suspected digger used to demolish Loughgall IRA memorial

The memorial was dedicated to Jim Lynagh and Padraig McKearney who were killed in an SAS ambush.
The memorial was dedicated to Jim Lynagh and Padraig McKearney who were killed in an SAS ambush.

By Eimear McGovern

It's believed a digger has been used to demolish a monument that was erected in memory of two IRA members killed by the SAS.

The stone memorial at Drumfurrer in Co Monaghan was destroyed in the attack which took place this week.

It was dedicated to Jim Lynagh and Padraig McKearney who were killed in an SAS ambush.

It happened in Loughgall in Co Armagh in 1987. 

A fundraising campaign has now been launched on the website GoFundMe to restore the memorial, which was first built in 2007.

A spokesperson for the fundraiser has said they were "devastated" when they were alerted to the news.

"Such a horrendous act of disrespect and disregard not only to the memory of the Volunteers but also an assault on the families of these men," they said.

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The site after the memorial was demolished.

"We are truly shocked and astounded that anyone would remove in its entirety a monument that was not only a beautiful and truly fitting memorial to Volunteer Jim Lynagh and Volunteer Padraig McKearney but also a place where families and friends could go to reflect and pay their respects to the men who had fought and died for their country.

"We need to rebuild this Monument but it's going to take a lot of money," they said.

The fundraiser has now raised almost €3,000 of a €10,000 target.

The spokesperson said that the money raised will go towards rebuilding the monument, including installing a new headstone and surroundings, new fencing and towards the upkeep of the monument.

Six other IRA members and a civilian also died in the British army ambush launched as republicans attacked the RUC station in the village.

Author, academic and ex-Special Branch officer Dr William Matchett said it's inevitable that people will be hurt by the campaign to rebuild the monument.

"The men are dead and they have their families and anybody who defaces any memorial - it's just wrong and I'm sure it's being treated like a crime.

"It ties in with the issues of victims and their pensions and equivocation, you can see it becomes very polarised," he said.

"One section of our society hails them as heroes. Another swathe of society will say that they were armed terrorists who were trying to murder police officers.

"This legacy regime hasn't really brought any reconciliation that I can see. You have these two controversial figures in Lynagh and McKearney and a monument and people will say it's great this was destroyed, whereas I would see differently.

"Whatever way you disagree with them, whether you think as I do that they waged a war against society, people have the right to pay respect to their dead," said Dr Matchett.

"You need to put your arguments in books or speak to the media instead of doing things like this - society is becoming even deeper divided."

The Gardaí said they have not received a report of any incident in the area.

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