An Ulster Unionist MLA has called on the Irish government to halt the rebuilding of a memorial to IRA men, killed in Loughgall, after it was demolished last week.
Thousands of pounds has been raised to rebuild the monument, to Jim Lynagh and Padraig McKearney, after it was razed to the ground last week.
The monument was built to honour two of eight IRA men killed in 1987 as they launched an attack on the RUC station in Loughgall.
The structure, a large memorial encased in ornate granite and surrounded by a wrought iron fence, was erected in 2007 at Drumfurrer in Co Monaghan close to the border with Tyrone.
So substantial was the structure, it is believed a digger of some kind must have been used to destroy it.
Monaghan County Council revealed it had been erected without planning permission but it was not involved in pulling it down.
A statement issued just after the incident by Mairead Kelly and Roisin Ni Cheallaigh on behalf of the Loughgall Truth and Justice Campaign said: “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 extend our sympathies and respect to the families of Jim and Padraig and to the extended families of the men who died at Loughgall. To do this to any of the Loughgall families is to do it to us all. It is a very upsetting and sad time but our memories and thoughts cannot be erased. We will remember our heroes with the respect and dignity that they deserve.”
A Go Fund Me page hhas raised €7,261 of the €10k goal.
Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said: “If it was placed illegally then the Irish government should have taken action, if the intent is to establish it illegally then again I say the Irish government should take action.
“We have exactly the same problem here in NI where monuments to terrorists are being built illegally and this should not be allowed to happen.
“I take no pleasure in anyone being killed but these two men were intent on murder and destruction of property and met their deaths through the legitimate actions of state forces. They are linked to multiple killings of men, women and children and why anyone want to glorify this with a memorial to them is in my mind perverse.
“I understand and respect that everyone should have the right to remember their dead but it should be done in a manner were it does not cause offense to others especially victims and the families of victims. Therefore I do not believe this memorial should be reinstated and the Irish government should take steps preventing it being reinstated.”