A granite monument in honour of former IRA hunger striker Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes has been vandalised within days of being unveiled.
The heavy stone bench was commissioned by family and friends of the late IRA member to mark the third anniversary of his death. It had been placed in the Cooley mountains in Co Louth where Hughes had requested that his ashes be scattered.
A one-time close friend of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, Hughes became an outspoken opponent of the party’s political strategy in his later years. Prior to his death he gave taped interviews about his time in the IRA which later became public.
On Sunday, Hughes’s grandchildren Shona and Paul Hughes unveiled the bench. However, when a family member went back to visit the spot, the bench had been vandalised.
The former IRA man’s brother Terry Hughes said the family could see no obvious reason why the monument had been attacked. “We had spoken to focal people before we went ahead with our plans for a memorial to Brendan and the response had been very positive. There were no objections,” he said.
“The monument was quite a significant piece. It was made of solid granite and it would have taken considerable force to do that kind of damage.
“Whoever did this must have came armed with a sledgehammer or something similar so it appears to have been a very deliberate premeditated act.
“It’s very distressing for our family that someone has done this on the eve of Brendan’s anniversary.”