Belfast Telegraph

Calls for Sinn Fein to remove poster near to Remembrance Day memorial

A UUP councillor has called for Sinn Fein to remove a poster near to the Cenotaph in Omagh ahead of events to mark Remembrance Day.

Local UUP councillor Chris Smyth said it was the second year in a row a poster had been erected in the vicinity of the monument.

Speaking about the poster, Cllr Smyth noted it advertised an event focusing on mental health which took place in the Strule Arts Centre last Saturday.

"I work in the field of mental health and wish to put it firmly on record that I welcome any attempts by political parties to improve mental health in Northern Ireland," he said.

"But at this very special time of Remembrance, it is at best insensitive for Sinn Fein, an organisation which supported the IRA's terrorist campaign and which in recent times has further traumatised victims by refusing to condemn the Enniskillen Remembrance Day bomb, to erect signs on the railings of the Cenotaph so close to events which will be held during Remembrance week," he said.

In July, Sinn Fein Council Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Stephen McCann made comments during an interview with The Impartial Reporter in which he said he would "not go down the road" of condemning the Enniskillen bombing.

"I am angry that this is the second time that this has happened, with similar scenes at the Cenotaph last year. Omagh is a big town and there are many places that signs can be erected that would have the same visual impact," Cllr Smyth added.

"Why, oh, why must Sinn Fein insist on placing signs at this one spot which they know is special to those who lost loved ones in the service of Queen and country in past wars and also including the Troubles."

Responding to the criticism, Sinn Fein MLA told the Belfast Telegraph: "It is disappointing that UUP Councillor Chris Smyth has attempted to score cheap political points out of a poster advertising an event on mental health."

She also confirmed that as the event was last Saturday the poster would be taken down.

The Cenotaph monument is a granite obelisk and sits on three granite steps. It dates back to the 1920s and and was originally erected to commemorate the 2,000 men from Co Tyrone that died in the First World War.

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