Belfast Telegraph

Memorial for Belfast Blitz victims planned for 80th anniversary

By Allan Preston

A new memorial for the victims of the Belfast Blitz was proposed at a city council meeting last night.

More than 1,000 people died during four Luftwaffe bombing raids in April and May 1941.

Ulster Unionist Jeff Dudgeon has now called for a commemorative site to put in place for the 80th anniversary of the Blitz in 2021.

He has suggested Cathedral Gardens - also known as Buoy Park - beside St Anne's Cathedral at the junction of York Street and Lower Donegall Street.

This was most appropriate, he said, as it was subject to extensive destruction and is council-owned.

Speaking ahead of the council meeting, he said it was important to recognise that Belfast was one of the few heavily blitzed cities not to have a commemorative site.

He added that the many Blitz victims came from every part of the city, especially the north side, "and that the havoc wreaked was immense".

A "substantial" offer of funding, he said, has already been made by the Northern Ireland War Memorial.

Buoy Park, he said, was now in need of reanimation and would benefit from a replacement feature for the departing buoys.

"For all these reasons, it is therefore proposed that a Blitz memorial at this location is considered as an emerging project for the capital programme in the coming financial year," he said.

"The immediate issue is to get a budget line agreed in committee for an amount, perhaps £50,000, to be slotted into the forthcoming financial year's expenditure," said Mr Dudgeon.

While a number of smaller memorials to the Blitz, including plaques, have already been erected around Belfast, Mr Dudgeon said he still believes a "full" memorial is needed.

Speaking at last night's council meeting, Councillor Dudgeon said there was "no central memorial with the names of all those who died in the Blitz, no single site for remembrance". He added that it might be possible to "incorporate the victims' names, street names and locations".

The motion, seconded by Alderman Pat Convery, was referred to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.

Belfast Telegraph

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