Pressure on NIHE to remove 1916 memorial

Pacemaker Press INTL 28/05/2016
Republican SINN F�IN parade through the Kilwilkie Estate in Lurgan to the unveiling of the Vol. Edward Costello 1916 Memorial Garden
Photo Aidan OReilly Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Press INTL 28/05/2016 Republican SINN F�IN parade through the Kilwilkie Estate in Lurgan to the unveiling of the Vol. Edward Costello 1916 Memorial Garden Photo Aidan OReilly Pacemaker Press

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has called on DUP Minister Paul Givan to take action on an illegal 1916 Easter Rising memorial in Lurgan.

The MLA believes no action has been taken to even try to have the memorial removed.

It has been built over several months on disused land owned by the NIHE without planning approval from Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

Mrs Dobson asked Mr Givan who is Minister for Communities what action has been taken on the Republican Sinn Fein memorial in Lurgan since March 3; and whether his Department will seek to remove the structure.

In response, his department said: “The replacement or removal of symbols such as murals and memorials is a complex and sensitive matter. No one single agency can work on its own to do this. It needs a number of agencies and bodies to work together, as well as involving the public and relevant communities.

“The safety of Housing Executive staff and contractors is paramount. Having consulted with the PSNI, the Housing Executive believes that it could not guarantee their safety if an attempt was made to remove this structure. The NIHE will continue to work with those who live on our estates, their representatives and other agencies, to look at an alternative use for these spaces.”

A number of people were arrested after an illegal parade and ceremony to officially open the mememorial.

Despite the recent removal of the Carnlough memorial, a local source close to Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council claimed that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that attempts will be made to remove the memorial in Lurgan.

Recently a spokesperson for the Council said: Following receipt of a complaint in March 2016, the Council opened an enforcement case to investigate the construction of an alleged unauthorised memorial at Lurgantarry, Lurgan. The Council is currently engaging with NIHE.”

An NIHE spokesperson provided the ‘Mail’ with a similar response to that given to the Minister, Paul Givan.