20 May 2022

Victims’ group criticises proposed memorial cross

The South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) have branded the plans 'abhorrent'.

Victims’ group criticises proposed memorial cross

Kenny Donaldson, director of SEFF, has called for the proposal to be withdrawn.

A Fermanagh-based group that supports victims and survivors of ‘Troubles-related criminal violence’ have condemned a planning application for a memorial cross in a County Derry town.

A planning application has been lodged with Mid Ulster District Council for a ‘memorial cross’ in Bellaghy to commemorate republican hunger strikers Francis Hughes and Thomas McElwee.

The South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) has branded the application ‘abhorrent’ in a Facebook post which gave a biography of Hughes and McElwee.

“There is a feeling of revulsion at what is being proposed,” said SEFF Director of Services, Kenny Donaldson.

“We advocate on behalf of innocent victims/survivors of terrorism and other Troubles related criminal violence and we have substantive membership within the greater Mid-Ulster area. 

“It is absolutely abhorrent for such an application to be even submitted against the backdrop of the carnage these men reaped across the area they were based.

“We call upon the application proposers to withdraw the planning request immediately. Failing this happening then all eyes move to Mid-Ulster Council and the actions of its' Councillors.

“In such a circumstance this then becomes the South Londonderry version of the McCreesh play park issue in Newry.”

Mid Ulster Advocacy Support Worker for SEFF, Ian Irwin, called on the SDLP to oppose the application.

“If the application does go forward, then we call upon the SDLP leadership to move decisively in putting out a directive to its' representatives not to support the application,” he said.

“If it fails to do so then the Party is complicit with terrorism idolatry. The Party must demonstrate that it has learnt from its failures in Newry.”

The application is currently at the consultation stage and has, to date, had three public comments of objection on the NI online planning portal.

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