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Ulster Unionist Party leader calls for condemnation of Captain Tom IRA graffiti

A memorial erected in the UK of the NHS hero was vandalised with graffiti reading ‘IRA’

Captain Sir Tom Moore died earlier this year (Danny Lawson/PA)

Clodagh Meaney

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt has called for the condemnation of IRA graffiti which appeared on a memorial for Captain Sir Tom Moore.

A memorial erected in Derbyshire, UK, just days after the death of the NHS hero was vandalised with graffiti reading ‘IRA’, which caused outrage among locals.

The silhouette sculpture of the 100 year old who died in February was erected after he raised tens of millions of pounds for the NHS during the first 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.

Taking to social media, Nesbitt, an MLA for Strangford in Co. Down shared an image of the vandalism and said: “This needs [to be] condemned by every political party that opposes sectarianism, stupidity and a failure to demonstrate respect.”

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Strangford Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) member Conor Houston added: “Agreed. Utterly condemn. Just blatant sectarianism & hatred that stands in contrast to the public service & civic pride that Sir Tom demonstrated.”

Anthony Ball, chairman of the Dove Valley Community Project which manages the park where the memorial is located, said he discovered the damage on Wednesday December 29th.

"What I don't understand is that you've got a small memorial remembering those who lost their lives, and a Tommy [from the Royal British Legion],”he told Derbyshire Live.

“Why did they spray Captain Tom? What has he got to do with the IRA?”

"I was nearly physically sick when I saw it,” he continued.

“Every day I do my walk, I walked around the corner, and I looked at it and was nearly physically sick. I touched it with my hand thinking it was something that would just wipe off, and it was spray paint.”

"I could almost understand if someone sprayed a war memorial or a soldier, but not Captain Tom walking down the street.”

He told the publication he got a bin bag to cover the memorial as he “couldn’t leave” it on show as it was, and warned vandals against damaging it again.

"If you continue to paint him, we will clean it off. If you damage him, we have the resources to repair him. If you remove him, we will have a new one put in his place.”

"By continuing your actions you are greatly increasing our chances of catching you. Sir Tom is now all cleaned up and continuing to lift the spirits of all those that need him during these times."

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