Disgust as Hunger Strike memorial placed on bonfire

The IRSP Hunger Strikers Commemoration board on the bonfire at the Fountain.

The IRSP Hunger Strikers Commemoration board on the bonfire at the Fountain.

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The Irish Republican Socialist Party has expressed outrage after a large board commemorating the Hunger Strikers was stolen and placed on a bonfire in Derry’s Fountain Estate.

The 8ft x 4ft commemorative piece had been situated in the Bogside for several years but went missing several weeks ago.

A number of flags stolen from the IRSP’s premises on Chamberlain Street in the city centre.

IRSP Derry spokesman Danny Morrison said on Friday evening: “One of our members just reported seeing it in the Fountain.

“This 1981 Hunger Strike commemoration has sat for two or three years over at Pilot’s Row and went missing a few days before the 12 July. We also lost flags at James Connolly House.”

Mr Morrison said local Republicans were disgusted after learning the mural piece had been stolen for use on the bonfire, particularly given that several commemorations for the Hunger Strikers were being held at the present time.

The bonfire at the Fountain Estate on Friday evening.

The bonfire at the Fountain Estate on Friday evening.

“It is provocative enough having UDR and other flags on the streets but this is disgusting,” he said.

The bonfire in the Fountain has been constructed ahead of the Apprentice Boys of Derry annual commemorations and was expected to be burned in Derry on Friday night, prior the annual march through the city centre on Saturday.

A number of flags, including several Irish tricolour flags and the Starry Plough were visible in a picture of the bonfire tweeted by DUP Councillor and youth worker Graham Warke earlier on Friday and under the title ‘Fountain Estate, Londonderry’.

At the time the picture was taken the Hunger Striker board was not visible on the bonfire.

The bonfire at the Fountain on Friday evening.

The bonfire at the Fountain on Friday evening.

The ten men who died on Hunger Strike in 1981 were Bobby Sands (26); Francis Hughes (25); Raymond McCreesh (24); Patsy O’Hara (23); Joe McDonnell (30); Martin Hurson (29); Kevin Lynch (25); Kieran Doherty (25); Thomas McElwee (23) and Michael Devine (27).