O’Loan criticises memorial removal

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SDLP Councillor Declan O’Loan has criticised Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for its removal of a 1916 memorial in Carnlough.

He said the small memorial, which was erected without authorisation on Council property earlier this year, was removed by the Council on Thursday night.

Cr O’Loan said: “I deplore this action by the Council. I do not support the erection of any memorial on public property without authorisation. However, when such a thing happens, the situation requires the utmost sensitivity and patience. The Council action was hasty. The public sees a plethora of huge paramilitary murals in very prominent locations across Mid and East Antrim. All sorts of loyalist flags hang in their hundreds with impunity. The hypocrisy of the situation is obvious and it makes the nationalist community very angry.

“This action is coming from a Council which is willing to spend £60,000 on a single Somme commemoration event, but would not allow its councillors to go on a visit to Dublin just to learn a little about the Easter Rising. Acting in the dead of the night shows that the Council knew very well the resentment there would be towards its action even from those who had nothing to do with the memorial,” he said.