Belfast Telegraph

Controversial republican memorial has no planning permission

By Adrian Rutherford

A new IRA monument being built in Castlederg does not have planning permission.

The revelation has led to unionist calls to tear down the stone memorial currently under construction at Hillview Park estate.

The memorial has appeared at a time when tensions are already high over the planned march in memory of two IRA terrorists.

The huge stone structure commemorates "those in the Castlederg and Aghyaran area dedicated to the cause of Irish freedom".

It is understood to have been organised by the Sinn Fein commemoration committee and funded by Hillview residents.

The Belfast Telegraph has learned that the committee did not request planning permission before building the memorial. The Department of the Environment, which deals with planning issues, said it was looking into the matter.

A DoE spokesman added: "The memorial does not have planning permission. DoE Planning is considering if the memorial would require a planning application to be submitted."

Tom Buchanan, a DUP MLA for West Tyrone, called for the memorial to be torn down.

He said: "This is something that happens across the country – they go and build these things in republican areas and flout the system as far as seeking planning permission or anything else is concerned.

"It should be taken down. Indeed, I don't believe these things should be built or erected at all, regardless of planning permission.

"It is certainly a matter that I will be taking up with the planning authorities."

Strabane District Council chairman, Sinn Fein councillor Ruairi McHugh, said he was aware planning permission had not been sought.

"It is my understanding that the local commemoration committee undertook a survey of residents of the Hillview Park estate," he added.

"I understand that of the residents surveyed, every one said they were supportive of the monument being built, except for four people who said they had no opinion."

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