IRA bomb memorial badly vandalised

A memorial to the victims of an IRA bus attack on soldiers in Northern Ireland has been badly vandalised.

Eight servicemen were killed in the Ballygawley bombing in Co Tyrone in 1988.

Members of the Light Infantry Regiment, from England, were returning to a base near Omagh after a short holiday.

Police said the memorial at Curr Road was damaged overnight on Thursday, and are treating it as a sectarian hate crime.

A wooden structure around 20-feet long, which housed wreaths and poppy crosses, was “absolutely destroyed”, victims campaigners said.

The South East Fermanagh Foundation said: “Interpretive panels have been damaged beyond repair and there is significant structural damage to the main memorial.”

Ballygawley bombing anniversary service
Ballygawley bombing anniversary service

A replacement memorial and interpretive panels had been dedicated at the site on the 30th anniversary of the bomb attack.

The victims’ group added: “Two years later and that work has now been undone through the actions of those without any concept of respect or common decency.”

It said the community should cooperate in providing information which could lead to the successful prosecution of the individuals concerned.

“We commit in partnership with local Ballygawley Road families and the 1st Light Infantry Regimental Association to restore the site and bring back honour to those which has been grossly dishonoured.”

The IRA set off a 200-pound roadside Semtex bomb as the bus was travelling between Ballygawley and Omagh.

Members of the Omagh Protestant Boys Band returning from a parade were among the first at the scene and tried to resuscitate soldiers, who were lying on the road.