Desecration of memorial to brave Volunteers

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A memorial in County Tyrone dedicated to three IRA Volunteers shot dead by the SAS has been attacked on the 30th anniversary of their deaths.

Vandals threw red paint across the memorial at Drumnakilly, between Carrickmore and Omagh, early on Thursday morning and sprayed ‘SAS’ on a wall beside the memorial.

Brothers Gerard and Martin Harte died along with Brian Mullin at Drumnakilly when they were struck down in a hail of SAS gunfire.

Brian Mullin had previously been marked out by British forces. He was arrested and interrogated on numerous occasions and a few weeks before his death he and his brothers were beaten by Crown Forces outside their family home.

Gerard Harte was the eldest of the three Volunteers and was a prominent member of the Loughmacrory St Theresa’s GAA Club, where he organised youth teams. His brother Martin had captained the Loughmacrory team. He was the father of a three-month-old son and his widow was Briege Mullin, sister of his comrade Brian Mullin.

The paint attack on their memorial came on Thursday, just hours before members of both families were due to hold a small commemoration.

West Tyrone Assembly member Declan McAleer and a brother of the Harte’s later cleaned the memorial. Mr McAleer hit out at the latest attack.

“I wholeheartedly condemn this cowardly and disgraceful attack which serves absolutely no purpose other than to add to the grief of the families.”

On Thursday evening, Sinn Fein supporters gathered in Loughmacrory, where the Harte brothers are buried, to remember the three men at an event addressed by former Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty.

Another commemoration is taking place today, Saturday September 1, organised by Tyrone National Graves Association, in conjunction with the Harte and Mullin families.

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