Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
MEA Council set to add 56 names to World War II Memorial in Ballymena
Fifty-six names are to be added to Ballymena Second World War Memorial with the new additions expected to be in place by the end of June.
Members of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s newly-formed War Memorial Working Group were also told that there may be names to be added to Larne War Memorial which will take place in the next financial year.
The work is being undertaken in Ballymena at a cost of £10,000.
Speaking at the meeting, Braid DUP Councillor William McCaughey raised a concern over the cleanliness of the borough’s war memorials.
He was advised that the memorial in Ballymena requires specialist cleansing due to its height and specialist stone although “low level maintenance” can be carried out by the council.
Knockagh DUP Councillor Peter Johnston asked that a schedule of maintenance be established for all monuments owned by the authority. It was agreed that although cleaning would be confined to those owned by the council, others would be given assistance if necessary, due to graffiti, for example.
Councillors also discussed maintenance of the Knockagh Monument in Greenisland, Co Antrim’s War Memorial.
They were told that this could be carried out at a cost of £30k, half of which would be the charge for scaffolding. They also heard that there is no electricity at the site and it would cost £45k to connect to supply.
Cllr Johnston went on to say he believed that there were other councils “favourable of further investment” in the monument such as improved car parking, lighting, information panels and storage.
Mid and East Antrim councillors have expressed “sadness” previously over Belfast City Council’s continued refusal to participate in the maintenance of the Co Antrim War Memorial.
Mid and East Antrim is one of four participating councils alongside Antrim and Newtownabbey, Causeway Coast and Glens and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Councils.
Belfast City Council has been invited to participate in the Knockagh Monument Joint Committee and contribute £2,000 annually towards the upkeep of the monument.
Cllr Johnston asked that a meeting be arranged with the chief executive of Belfast City Council to discuss the matter further.
Work undertaken in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday 2018 included new facing, removal of graffiti, re-pointing, concrete repairs, inscription re-rendering, restoration and patching work.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Mayor Alderman Stephen Ross has suggested previously that a “pot of money” should be set aside for its upkeep.
He was advised that “a significant sum” had been spent on the most recent maintenance work at the monument in 2017/18 and if there was “money remaining from the annual contributions, this would be set aside and built upon”.
Ald Ross said that the monument should be “treated with the utmost respect” and said that he supported an increase in annual contributions.