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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

ANBCouncil approves contribution toward UDR memorial in Randalstown

UDR Marble memorial in the shape of the badge of the regiment.

Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors have approved a contribution of £1,000 towards a UDR memorial in Randalstown, despite opposition from Sinn Fein.

Members of the borough council’s Community Planning Committee agreed last week to contribute the sum to  the Randalstown branch of the Royal British Legion towards the cost of the memorial.

A report to the committee said Randalstown RBL installed a memorial to the UDR in the town’s memorial garden in April and the branch has asked if the council “might wish to consider making a financial contribution given the support to the installation of UDR memorials in Antrim and Ballyclare”.

Speaking at the Community Planning Committee meeting, Dunsilly Ulster Unionist Councillor Stewart Wilson said:

“It is important we as a council continue to remember those who held the line and protected it in our nation’s darkest days.”

Glengormley Sinn Fein Councillor Rosie Kinnear, deputy mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, said it was appropriate to remember the dead but not use a council contribution to do so.

She added that the memorial has already been established. “To approve this would not be reflective of a council trying to serve citizens of a diverse borough,” she stated.

Threemilewater DUP Alderman Stephen Ross said he was “very happy to second” the proposed contribution and welcomed the memorial for the “people of Randalstown and those who stood front and centre against Provo terrorists”.

Airport Sinn Fein Cllr Maighread Ni Chonghaile stated: “I agree with the deputy mayor. I do not think it is appropriate with regard to spending council money, so I oppose.”

Committee chair Macedon Sinn Fein Cllr Taylor McGrann commented: “I would also also be against the proposal.”

Macedon Alliance Cllr Billy Webb MBE remarked: “It has been proposed and seconded.”

Cllr Ni Chonghaile said she would like it to be recorded that there was “some disagreement in the chamber”.

Later in the meeting, Cllr Webb pointed out there was supposed to have been a recorded vote on the proposal the recommendation be approved.

A vote resulted in ten votes in favour and three against from the Sinn Fein members and an abstention by the SDLP.

In January 2020, the council backed a motion to recognise the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Ulster Defence Regiment by the hosting of a civic event and placing a permanent memorial to the UDR in Ballyclare Memorial Park. The motion was carried by 27 votes in favour and five against.

It was designed at a cost of £1,100 intended to be in keeping with the council’s existing war memorial in the park.

Councillors were also advised it was agreed at the Community Planning Committee in January 2019 that the UDR Association erect a memorial in the vicinity of the Antrim Town War Memorial.


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