28 November 2005

Controversy over garden


A new Ballymurphy memorial garden unveiled yesterday was at the centre of controversy as the family of an INLA man who died during a feud hit out because he was not included.
Former republican prisoners from the Upper Springfield area raised funds and designed the garden and the opening came after many months of considerable preparations.
In addition to IRA volunteers, a number of people who were killed by loyalists or British forces during the conflict were included in the memorial. Hence representatives from other organisations including the Official Republican Movement and the IRSP are engraved on the impressive marble plaque in the garden.
Gerard Barkley was killed during an INLA feud in 1983 by his former comrades within the organisation, but his name will not grace the garden in Divismore Way.
Jeanie Morton, a sister of Gerard, is angered that his contribution to the republican cause is not being recognised. In the week before the garden was opened she approached representatives of the former prisoners who constructed the garden, but was unable to convince them that he should be remembered in the garden.
“It is for the people killed as a result of the Troubles. I’m not against the Provisional IRA, and they have every right to the memorial, but so does my brother. He was born and raised in Ballymurphy and he served his time too. There was a volley of shots above his coffin.
“All that matters to me is that they died. He was from Ballymurphy and died during the conflict and his name deserves to be on it, as does everybody else who died in the conflict – not just Gerard.”
A spokesman for the Commemoration Committee said, “Gerard Barkley died at the hands of the organisation he was a part of. That organisation has not commemorated him in any way throughout the city.
“This project was organised by ex-prisoners to honour their comrades and it is up to the organisation he was a part of to honour him. We do not want to cause any hurt, but it is up to the organisation to include him,” he added.

Journalist:: Damien McCarney

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