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The Chairman of the Clare International Brigades Commemorative Collective has said the vandalism of a memorial to an Ennis soldier was inspired by far-right protests in Dublin on Saturday.

In May 2019, a memorial in honour of Michael Russell was erected in Simms Lane, Ennis. He joined the XV International Brigades to defend against fascism in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. Comrade Russell was shot in action at Pingarron Hill on the 27th February 1937 and died.

On Tuesday, the memorial to Russell was vandalised with the wording ‘stop communism’ sprayed on the wall below it with spray paint also put on the memorial. An Garda Síochána are currently investigating the incident.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Thomas Guilfoyle, Chairman of the Clare International Brigades Commemorative Collective expressed his belief that persons involved in the anti-lockdown protest in Dublin on Saturday were to blame for the vandalism. Two men have already been charged in connection with the protests in the capital.

“It is a sad day that people would deface the plaque of Mchael Russell who fought for freedom, democracy and liberty, he led the fight during the Spanish Civil War. It is a sad day for Ennis to see an alt-right fascist agenda doing this. Hopefully it will be wiped out,” the Clarecastle man stated.

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