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Belfast Council agrees to new statues of Winifred Carney and Mary Ann McCracken at City Hall


Winifred Carney

Winifred Carney

Winifred Carney

Belfast City Council has agreed to erect statues of Winifred Carney and Mary Ann McCracken in the grounds of City Hall, as well as a plaque for Edward Carson inside the building.

Councillors unanimously agreed to an Alliance motion to erect a statue for United Irishwoman McCracken, as well as recommendations from a 2012 independent Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) to approve a statue for the republican Carney, and a plaque commemorating unionist icon Carson and the signing of the Ulster Covenant.

The agreement starts the process of costing and design for the statues and plaque, with further equality screening to be used if deemed necessary, and the final plan to be brought before the council.

The council has also agreed to establish a working group to consider and agree commissions for future installations at City Hall.

Decisions have already been taken supporting the installation of two stained glass windows representing the LGBT community and the NHS.

A council report refers to “the need to achieve a greater level of balance in terms of the persons who are depicted or represented within the grounds” of City Hall.

It states: “One such figure promoted as being a person of significant historical importance, viewed by many as worthy of being commemorated, is Winifred Carney.

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“In the context of the EQIA, and not in any way to undermine her historical importance, Winifred Carney goes some way to providing the balance that the EQIA recommends.”

Sinn Fein’s Ciaran Beattie thanked all the other parties during the council, and said it was “a long road” to resolution of the installation issue.

DUP councillor Brian Kingston said: “As we move forward with this process, we will be hoping to capture the complexity of people’s lives, and not present them in a one-dimensional manner.”

He also suggested installing in the grounds of the City Hall a statue of Isabella Tod, the suffragist, social reformer and activist for the poor and women’s rights who helped secure the admission of women to Queen’s University.

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