‘There’s nothing divisive about Ghost Tommies’

The "Ghost Tommy" in its original position.
The "Ghost Tommy" in its original position.

The vandalised ‘Ghost Tommy’ war memorial in Cairncastle village will be fully restored ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

The six-foot metal silhouette was knocked to the ground at the weekend in what has been described as a “calculated and callous attack”.

DUP MLA Gordon Lyons said: “It is no coincidence that this attack comes just days after a local Sinn Fein representative made outrageous and insensitive comments which caused offence and hurt to the memory of those who lost their lives.

“Both communities fought side by side and died together in world wars and it is only right they should be remembered with utmost dignity.”

Robert Hunter, chairman of Friends of the 36th (Ulster) Division Cairncastle, said: “It is incredibly disappointing to see such a calculated and callous attack on our recently installed ‘Ghost Tommy’.

“Protestants, Catholics and others served and died alongside each other.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein councillor James McKeown said that he had received a “number” of complaints regarding the sculpture, which he claimed had been erected without consultation.

He added he had not asked for it to be removed and said anyone with any information about the vandalism incident, which he said should be regarded as a “hate crime”, should take it to the PSNI.

TUV councillor Ruth Wilson said: “There is nothing sectarian or divisive about these tasteful memorials to the sacrifice of the Great War. Quite the reverse. The many thousands of Nationalists who went off to fight for freedom in Europe are paid tribute to by way of the Ghost Tommies as well as Unionists.”