Clare memorial for Spanish Civil War volunteer vandalised with anti-communism slogans

Michael Russell died in combat in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, fighting Francisco Franco's fascist regime.
Clare memorial for Spanish Civil War volunteer vandalised with anti-communism slogans

Gardaí at the scene of the suspected vandalism.

A memorial dedicated to an Irish man killed in action fighting for the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War has been vandalised in Ennis, Co Clare. 

Gardaí have been notified of the suspected act of vandalism which has been described as "totally careless, and totally cowardly". 

Michael Russell, born at Simms Lane in Ennis, in 1909, emigrated to Canada before he went to fight the fascist regime of the former dictator General Francisco Franco. 

He died in combat in 1937 and a plaque in his memory was unveiled in 2019 by the Clare International Brigades Commemorative Collective

Gardaí at the scene of the suspected vandalism.

Gardaí at the scene of the suspected vandalism.

Graffiti sprayed on the memorial blacked out Mr Russel's name and the slogan of the Republican faction in the Spanish Civil War "¡No pasarán!". 

A second slogan, daubed on the wall beneath the black states: "Stop Communism". 

Speaking to ClareFm, Tommy Guilfoyle of the Clare International Brigades Commemorative Collective, said the act was shocking as the anniversary of Mr Russell's death was only two days ago. 

Mr Guilfoyle had laid flowers with his eldest daughter at the memorial on February 28, just days before the vandalism was reported. 

"Clare people are very proud of the sons and daughters who have stood up and travelled abroad to do right by humankind," said Mr Guilfoyle and paid tribute to Michael Russell's service in the Spanish Civil War as a stand for humanity. 

"He's an Ennis-born son that people are very proud of," he said. 

The memorial established for Michael Russell was vandalised in a suspected attack.

The memorial established for Michael Russell was vandalised in a suspected attack.

Gardaí are investigating CCTV footage from the area, said Mr Guilfoyle, and Clare County Council workers are set to remove the graffiti. 

"All in all, this vandalism attempt was totally in vain, totally careless, and totally cowardly," he said. 

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