Belfast Telegraph

Bobby Sands grave vandalised

12 January 2004

Sinn Fein councillor Michael Brown examines the damage to the headstone of hunger striker Bobby Sands caused by vandals at the republican site in Milltown cementery.A PLOT containing the grave of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands has been damaged in an overnight attack by vandals in a west Belfast cemetery.

Sinn Fein confirmed today that 16 graves in the Republican plot in Milltown Cemetery, which contains the graves of hunger strikers Sands and Joe McDonnell, and three Provisionals killed by the SAS in Gibraltar in 1988 - Mairead Farrell, Sean Savage and Danny McCann - were desecrated.

The grave of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams' father was also damaged.

Headstones were smashed and flowers were scattered around the recently refurbished memorial.

West Belfast Sinn Fein councillor, Michael Browne, said relatives were "extremely distressed".

He said: "This is not simply a Republican memorial, it is the actual graves of many IRA volunteers and Sinn Fein activists killed over the past 30 years.

"The monument was recently refurbished through the voluntary work of Belfast republicans.

"Republicans throughout the city will be angered at this turn of events and I am sure they will rally to the aid of the National Graves Association as they seek to rebuild the monument."

The graves have been vandalised in the past. In January 2000 more than 20 granite memorials were damaged.

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