IRA slogans daubed on councillor’s home

Donal Hickey

The letters ‘CIRA’ were painted on the gable of the home of Cllr Liam Purtill and his wife, Mary, in the village of Ballylongford, Co Kerry. Investigating gardaí said they are taking the incident seriously.

“This was a terribly cowardly act and has been most upsetting for my family and I. I’m nearly sure it was nobody in the village that did it and would be most surprised if it was,” Mr Purtill said yesterday.

The late Det Garda McCabe was a native of Ballylongford and was well known to the councillor.

Other buildings and a bridge in Ballylongford were also daubed with the words ‘Continuity IRA’ but the Purtill home was the only private house targeted.

Derogatory remarks were also written on a wall about Kerry North Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris.

The graffiti was first spotted by Mary Purtill, a nurse, as she returned home from work at about 8.15 on Sunday morning.

“I didn’t think I had any enemies. Everyone knows my political views and that I feel strongly about the McCabe issue. The McCabes were a very popular and respected family in Ballylongford,” Mr Purtill said.

He also said there had been some kind of republican commemoration at Knockanure, in north Kerry, at the weekend and thought the attack may be connected with that.

When an apology was issued from Castlerea Prison by those convicted of the McCabe killing, Mr Purtill said it was a pity the apology did not come prior to the death of the dead garda’s father, John.

The daubing was condemned at yesterday’s meeting of Kerry County Council in Tralee with the mayor, Ned O’Sullivan, FF, hitting out at what he called “desecration” of a number of buildings in Ballylongford.

“This is something that cannot be tolerated. It was a Nazi-type carry on, particularly as it involved a councillor’s home. We’re on the slippery slope,” Mayor O’Sullivan said.

Sinn Féin councillor Robert Beasley, from nearby Ballybunion, also condemned it, saying it was childish nonsense.

“This was a childish and immature act done through extremes of alcohol,” he added.

It is believed the overwhelming majority of Sinn Féin supporters in Kerry North are backing the stand taken by Mr Ferris in relation to the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process, but some maverick republicans are still active in the area.

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