Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Bobby Sands memorial slammed by unionist

Bobby Sands' son Robert Gerald holds his mother's hand at the funeral of his father Bobby in west Belfast flanked by Masked IRA men. Picture by Martin Wright
Bobby Sands' son Robert Gerald holds his mother's hand at the funeral of his father Bobby in west Belfast flanked by Masked IRA men. Picture by Martin Wright
Tomboy Loudon, Gerry Roche, Denis Donaldson and Bobby Sands pictured in the Long Kesh prison, Northern Ireland.
Tomboy Loudon, Gerry Roche, Denis Donaldson and Bobby Sands pictured in the Long Kesh prison, Northern Ireland.
Former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald pleaded with Ronald Reagan to pile pressure on Margaret Thatcher over the hunger strikes
Former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald pleaded with Ronald Reagan to pile pressure on Margaret Thatcher over the hunger strikes

A council decision to put up a plaque dedicated to IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands as part of a major overhaul of a village has been condemned.

Fermanagh District Council has reinstated the memorial as part of an environmental improvement scheme worth £66,000 to enhance the appearance of Rosslea.

The project includes replacing brick paviors with flagstones, upgrading the steps, replacing brick walls with stone clad walls, providing flower beds and seating.

But the decision to reinstate the memorial to former Fermanagh-South Tyrone MP Bobby Sands on a new stone clad wall – costing £134 – has been condemned by Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott.

"Fermanagh District Council is becoming a cold house for Unionists.

"Bobby Sands was a member of an organisation that was responsible for the murder of almost 2,000 of our society," he said.

Three-quarters of the funding for the Rosslea project has been provided through the South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD) with 25% coming from the Council.

Mr Elliot said the council now had "huge questions" to answer.

How did the council facilitate and obviously approve the work of having this plaque to a terrorist in their project?

Brendan Hegarty, the chief executive of Fermanagh District Council, told The Impartial Reporter: "Whilst the Council and SWARD approved funding for the village enhancement schemes they would not be aware of the itemised details of the schemes.

"The Council will not be claiming a grant from SWARD for reinstating the plaque."

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