Irish flag nailed to Kingsmill massacre memorial as both Sinn Féin and DUP slam 'despicable' hate crime

Irish flag nailed to Kingsmill massacre memorial as both Sinn Féin and DUP slam 'despicable' hate crime

BOTH Sinn Féin and the DUP have condemned the "despicable" nailing of an Irish tricolour to a monument for the Kingsmill massacre victims in Northern Ireland.

Ten Protestant workmen were murdered by the IRA on January 5, 1976, when gunmen stopped a minibus carrying them home in Kingsmill, Co. Armagh.

The PSNI said the monument - in the Kingsmill Road area of Bessbrook - was vandalised overnight and an Irish national flag erected on it.

They are now treating the incident as a "sectarian-motivated hate crime".

Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon said the attack was "a despicable act designed to hurt the families of the victims".

She added: "Those who placed a national flag on the Kingsmill monument clearly have no respect for the meaning of that flag which is about peace and harmony between the main traditions on this island.

"There is absolutely no place in our society for desecrations of monuments which commemorate those who died during the conflict. Monuments and memorials are important places in communities and should be respected.

"I would encourage anyone with any information about who was responsible for this disgraceful act to contact the PSNI."

Newry & Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin said those responsible were "the lowest of the low".

He added: "This is another attack on this permanent memorial which stands as a solemn reminder of the cold and callous actions of the Provisional IRA who murdered ten innocent men as they made their way home from a hard and honest day’s work."

Ulster Unionist councillor David Taylor also hit out at the "sickening" attack.

He tweeted: "I am truly appalled at the attack which occurred on the Kingsmills Memorial overnight.

"Flowers placed by families were desecrated and a tricolour was nailed onto the memorial.

"The Kingsmills families should not have to contend with such sickening behaviour."

The PSNI has appealed for anyone with information about the hate crime to come forward.