Belfast Telegraph

Memorial plans split Dunlop family

Plans to unite memorial gardens for Northern Ireland motorcycling greats Joey and Robert Dunlop have split their family.

Ballymoney Borough Council has voted to go ahead with the redevelopment work after the brothers' mother requested that a path between their shrines be built in Ballymoney, Co Antrim.

The decision has been bitterly opposed by Joey's wife, Linda Dunlop, despite her claims that she holds no ill will against her deceased brother-in-law's family.

She said: "It will always be Joey's memorial.

"We don't see the need for a contractor to come in when there's no need to disturb the garden.

"It is not a vendetta, there is no tension with Robert's family. We just don't see the need after nine years for Joey's garden to be disturbed."

Her husband died during a race in Estonia in 2000, while Robert was killed at during a practice session at the North West 200 in 2008.

Father-of-three Robert, who was 47 when he died, won a record 15 races at the North West 200, while his brother managed 13 first-place finishes at the Portrush showpiece.

Joey, who was 48 when he died, was crowned Formula One champion five times and won a record 26 Isle of Man TT titles.

A spokesman for Robert's family said: "The family are absolutely delighted that the council is complying with their wish the two gardens should be linked."

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