IRA bomb memorial in Tyrone badly vandalised in ‘sectarian hate crime’

IRA bomb memorial in Tyrone badly vandalised in ‘sectarian hate crime’

A MEMORIAL to the victims of an IRA bomb attack in Northern Ireland has been left badly vandalised in an incident police are treating as a sectarian hate crime. 

Eight servicemen, who were members of the Light Infantry Regiment from England, were killed when a 200-pound roadside Semtex bomb was detonated in 1988. 

The soldiers were on a bus travelling from Ballygawley to Omagh, following a short holiday, when they were killed in the explosion. 

A further 28 were physically and psychologically injured in the attack, while many others who came upon the events were left traumatised for life. 

A memorial, featuring tributes to those lost was erected on Curr Road to mark the 30th anniversary of the bomb attack. 

The 20-foot long wooden structure featured wreaths and poppy crosses and had stood, untouched, for two years prior to being vandalised. 

According to the South East Fermanagh Foundation, a support group for the victims and survivors of terrorism in that region of Northern Ireland the memorial has been “absolutely destroyed”. 

The South East Fermanagh Foundation said: "Interpretive panels have been damaged beyond repair and there is significant structural damage to the main memorial." 

Victims campaigner Kenny Donaldson told the BBC the vandalism was "an act of ethnically motivated hatred". 

"To desecrate a space which seeks to respectfully remember the dead is beyond words,” he said, condemning those responsible as having "no concept of respect or common decency". 

"The community must cooperate in providing information which could lead to the successful prosecution of the individuals concerned," he added. 

The South East Fermanagh Foundation has already pledged to rebuild the memorial. 

"We commit in partnership with local Ballygawley Road families and the 1st Light Infantry Regimental Association to restore the site and bring back honour to those which has been grossly dishonoured." 

Police believe the memorial was damaged overnight on Thursday. 

They are treating it as a sectarian hate crime.