Theft of memorial stone a display of hatred & intolerance: Campbell

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has said the theft of a poppy wreath and memorial stone to the first RUC officer murdered in the Republic of Ireland is a display of hatred and intolerance.

By Gregory Campbell MP

East Londonderry

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John Doherty was murdered by the Provisional IRA whilst visiting his widowed mother near Lifford, Co. Donegal in October 1973. On the 50th anniversary of his murder a new memorial stone with the RUC crest was unveiled at Castlefin cemetery where he is buried.

The East Londonderry MP said, “It was a privilege to be welcomed by the Doherty family to Castlefin cemetery just a few days ago to mark the 50th anniversary of John’s murder. He was a Catholic RUC officer and the first to be murdered by the Provisional IRA within the Irish Republic.

The Doherty family are like very many others who continue to bear their grief 50 years on since his murder, but they do so with dignity and they stand in stark contrast to those who took John’s life. Again like so many others, they have never seen anyone brought to justice for his murder.

The theft of a simple memorial stone to John defies belief, a blatant display of hatred and intolerance. It is symptomatic of the approach we increasingly see where even a simple memorial to a victim of terrorism is not safe. That intolerance adds to the motives of those who set out to murder someone serving the entire community as a police officer.

I trust in Donegal there will be a shared disgust across the community and all political representatives will speak out in defence of a grieving family and in utter contempt for those responsible”.

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