Cross-community condemnation of attack on Kingsmill memorial

August 6, 2018

An attack by vandals on the Kingsmill memorial last weekend has been met with abject anger and condemnation from all sides of the community.

Wreaths were torn from the roadside monument and flowers were strewn across the road, while a Tricolour was nailed to the structure in the attack, which was discovered early on Monday morning last.

Since it was erected in 2014, this is the fourth reported attack on the memorial dedicated to the ten victims of the Kingsmill Massacre of January 1976. 

The area’s MP Mickey Brady condemned the attack, describing it as “inexcusable and repugnant”.  “Everyone must have the right to remember their loved ones with dignity and respect,” he posted on his Twitter account.

Ulster Unionist councillor David Taylor said he is “truly appalled” at the attack.

“The Kingsmil’ls families have suffered enough anguish and pain over the last 42 years and it is clear that the perpetrators of this heinous crime have sought to further compound their heartache by carrying out such an action.  It is truly horrifying that an incident so sinister in nature has taken place at the Kingsmill’s Memorial,” he said.

“My thoughts first and foremost are with the Kingsmill’s families who are understandably very distressed at this attack on the memorial. They should not have to contend with such despicable behaviour from those with a very obviously cruel and sectarian mind-set.”

Appealing for anyone with information to report it to the PSNI, he added: “There is no possible defence or justification for this. The individuals who perpetrated this shocking crime must be brought to justice.”

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh, Justin McNulty described the attack as “totally reprehensible”.

“These perpetrators will not succeed in the dragging us back to the past. This was not only an attack on a memorial, but on the bereaved families of the victims.  The nailing of the tricolour to the memorial shows how little respect they have for their own national flag,” he said.

Sinn Fein’s Megan Fearon condemned those responsible saying it was “a despicable act designed to hurt the families of the victims”.

“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.  And 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,” Ms Fearon said.

Police are treating the incident as a sectarian/hate crime and have appealed for information to help identify those responsible.