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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 18:48 GMT
Row erupts over IRA memorial
IRA memorial
The memorial has angered relatives of IRA victims
Nationalists and unionists are demanding that a monument erected in County Fermanagh in memory of three dead IRA men is taken down.

It was put up on Saturday close to where two men were killed by the IRA near Belleek.

But Sinn Fein claims republicans had every right to put the memorial there.

The monument is situated near the spot at Slater's Crossroads where two Protestant workmen were murdered in 1988.

It is just yards from the border with the Republic of Ireland.


The siting of the monument is actually a compromise position between the two locations

Michelle Gildernew
Sinn Fein

Four gunmen armed with rifles and a handgun fired up to 150 bullets at close range into the men's van.

William Hazard and Frederick Love had been carrying out work at Belleek RUC Station.

'Working day'

SDLP Assembly Member Tommy Gallagher, who lives near the village, has spoken to the men's relatives and said they were deeply upset.

"Erecting this monument as the republicans have done within yards of the spot where the IRA killed two Protestant workmen is regarded by local people as very insensitive," he said.
Sam Foster: "They were on a mission to murder"

"In my own view it is quite insulting to the relatives of the Protestant people who were killed.

"They are people who would have to travel past this monument - some of them twice every working day.

"The message is clear - that their feelings don't matter. It is only the feelings of those on the republican side that are being taken into account."

'Compromise'

However, the Sinn Fein MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Michelle Gildernew, said the siting of the monument to the three IRA men was justified.

"Joe McManus was killed 10 years ago and this weekend was his anniversary," she said.

"He was killed on active service a bit out the road."

The other two IRA men were killed in 1984 at a different location.
Gerry Adams: Praise for his community's sacrifice
Gerry Adams: Praise for his community's sacrifice

"The siting of the monument is actually a compromise position between the two locations," she said.

"You have to take into consideration that republicans also have a right to honour their dead. We do have monuments to RUC and RIR in very public places.

"This is on a public road - it is not in the middle of a town.

"People may be thinking that this is on the spot where these two men were killed - that is not the case."

'Responsible citizens'

Former Northern Ireland Minister Sam Foster accused Sinn Fein of aggravating the situation.

"I have had complaints in that area from across the board, saying there is no need for this whatsoever," he said.

"You have go to take into consideration that these people that this memorial is erected to had gone out on a mission to murder and to maim and to destroy.
Michelle Gildernew:
Michelle Gildernew: Compromise position

"Mr Hazard and Mr Love were doing their daily work as innocent and responsible citizens.

"They were taken out of it by these groups of terrorists who roamed our country at one stage - we don't want that to happen ever again."

The Ulster Unionist assembly member said if there "any decency in people at all" the statue should be removed.

See also:

20 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Memorial marks 'forgotten' atrocity
18 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Controversy over victims' plaque
27 Aug 99 | Northern Ireland
IRA man's remains exhumed from prison
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