Vandals trash memorial to bothy fire victims
A PLAQUE marking the death of 10 young Irish men in a bothy fire has been destroyed by vandals in a sickening attack just days after being unveiled.
The memorial, to mark the 70th anniversary of the tragedy, was smashed last Tuesday night.
Flowers and wreaths left by families of the victims visiting from Ireland were also trashed.
The thoughtless act has been condemned by all involved in the memorial event that took place in Eastside, Kirkintilloch, just over a week ago.
Provost Alex Hannah, who welcomed visitors to the commemorative ceremony, said: "I am shocked and dismayed at this blatant act of destruction.
"It is terrible that anyone would want to damage this commemorative plaque. I would encourage anyone who witnessed this vandalism or knows who may have carried out this act to contact the police.
"The partners in the project are currently considering how the damage can be repaired and how this can be funded, but it is impossible to repair the damage to the feelings of the people who travelled all the way from Ireland for the commemoration of this tragedy."
The Gaelic League, who part-funded the memorial, were also shocked to hear of the destruction.
Grinne Crothers, Irish language and cultural development officer for the organisation, said: "Can you imagine the effect on the community if, God forbid, today in 2007, 10 young men were to die in a fire in Kirkintilloch?
"I have no doubt the entire community and country would be united in shock and grief at the terrible tragedy.
"I find it utterly sickening that 70 years after the death of these young Achill men, anyone could unashamedly destroy a memorial plaque dedicated to their short lives."
Campsie and Kirkintilloch North councillors Charles Kennedy and David Ritchie both insist that the plaque should be replaced immediately.
Councillor Kennedy said: "I am really angry that this desecration should take place - it is no better than desecrating a grave.
"I would say that it has got nothing to do with sectarianism, but rather just a badness that is eating away at the core of society.
"We must now replace the plaque. It doesn't matter how many times we have to replace it - we can never give in to the vandals."
Councillor Ritchie added: "We must make a statement and replace the plaque as soon as possible."
Anybody with information about the incident can contact Kirkintilloch Police on 0141 532 4400 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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