Belfast Telegraph

Derry's Cenotaph is branded a 'dull and dirty disgrace'

By Donna Deeney

Londonderry's War Memorial has been branded "a disgrace" by one of the city's councillors.

DUP man Graham Warke has called for the cenotaph to be cleaned up and made worthy of those it commemorates ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme next year.

Mr Warke said he had already carried out some research and estimated the cost to be in the region of £250,000.

He added: "Next year will be extremely significant for families of people who died during the Battle of the Somme, including my own family, but the War Memorial in our city is quite frankly a disgrace.

"It is dull and dirty and is in need of urgent refurbishment if we are to show proper respect to the hundreds of men whose names have been engraved on it.

"Research has shown that 38% of the names on the War Memorial are those of men who came from a Catholic background, so this is an issue that should be important to both communities.

"I have made some initial enquiries about the cost to clean and restore the War Memorial and I have been told it will be around £250,000.

"I don't think the council will have to foot the entire costs, but I do believe there is a strong case for council to make up any shortfall.

"I am confident that I can get all-party support for my proposal. There has been a significant change in the stance of Sinn Fein in recent years to commemorating the war dead.

"Next year is extremely important and we should not let our own fallen citizens down by having a cenotaph that is less than it should be."

As well as the centenary year of the Battle of the Somme, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Messines will also be marked at the War Memorial in Derry.

New ground was broken earlier this year when two leading figures in Sinn Fein, the Mayor Elisha McCallion and the Speaker of the Assembly, Mitchell McLaughlin, laid a wreath at the annual Messines commemoration.

Belfast Telegraph


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