Graffiti including swastikas was etched on tombstones on a plot in St. Finbarr’s Cemetery in Glasheen Road in Cork. The police in Cork are currently investigating the vandalism which is thought to have happened during the evening on Thursday, March 28.

Other vandalism included “F*** THE IRA” and “IRA scumbags.” The tombstone of Tomas Mac Curtain, former Lord Mayor of Cork was vandalized. Sinn Fein councillor Chris O’Leary said the vandalism on the headstone of Tom Barry who was an Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander during the War for Independence indicates that the vandalism was planned ahead of the Easter Rising commemorations.

The Irish Times reported that Ted Tynan, who is Cork City Councillor and a member of the Worker’s Party said about the vandalism, “To think that the men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country could be treated with such utter contempt is disgusting. The fact that only the graves in the republican plot and of prominent republicans buried nearly have been covered with graffiti suggests that they were deliberately targeted.”

The Phoenix Historical Society, Sinn Fein members, and concerned city residents spent a day cleaning the graffiti before the commemorations.

Easter Sunday commemorations were held on March 31 despite the weather. Participants met at the National Monument on Grand Parade in Cork for the parade to St. Finnbarr’s where Sinn Fein TD Aengus O Snodaigh gave the oration.

The same day O’Leary spoke at the Easter Rising commemoration ceremony in Astna Square in Clonakilty, Cork. Clonakilty has held Rising commemorations since 1981.

The 97th anniversary of the Easter Rising is April 24, 2013. Members of the Irish Citizen Army, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Cumann na mBan attempted to push Ireland into rebellion for its independence during the week long rising in 1916.

Republican headstones vandalized ahead of Easter Rising celebrations at St. Finbarr's Cemetery in Cork.Richard Mills