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No plans to remove Larne slave trader tribute

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Charles McGarel

Charles McGarel

Charles McGarel

A council has said it has no plans to strip the name of a slave owner from the building his riches paid to construct.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council stated the town hall in Larne will keep the name of Charles McGarel in official use.

McGarel was born in the town in 1788 and made his fortune with sugar plantations in South America worked by slaves.

He was compensated to the tune of more than £9m in today’s money for the loss of his captive workforce upon the abolition of slavery in 1833.

Upon his death, part of McGarel’s fortune was left to the town to build the town hall, with a plaque to its benefactor put in place in 2004.

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Charles McGarel

Charles McGarel

Charles McGarel

He is further remembered by McGarel Cemetery, with his heirs also using the inheritance to build Magheramorne House.

McGarel not only owned slaves but actively lobbied King George IV to intervene to prevent abolition with other slave owners in what would become British Guyana.

A function room within the town hall in Larne still bears his name but a council spokesperson said there are no plans to have it changed.

It comes as the Black Lives Matter protests see statues to those connected with the slave trade removed and their names erased from public institutions.

Regarding the hall in Larne, a council spokesperson said: “The building is named Larne Town Hall; within the building, the larger room is called the McGarel Hall. There are no plans to change the name.”

Belfast Telegraph