10 May 2006

Nationalist fury at land grant for UDR memorial

Daily Ireland

by Ciarán Barnes

A row has broken out on a Co Antrim council after it agreed to provide land for an Ulster Defence Regiment memorial.
Unionists on Lisburn City Council have pushed through a proposal that will see the council hand over property in the city centre’s main square for two UDR statues.
Nationalists are furious at the move, which came less than two weeks after the emergence of documents revealing the extent of UDR collusion with loyalist paramilitaries during the 1970s, including providing them with the bulk of their murder weapons.
Lisburn Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler described the council’s involvement in the UDR memorial project as “highly insensitive”.
He said: “Catholics will see this as reward for a regiment that was up to its neck in sectarian killings.
“Unionists tell us that Lisburn is a city for everyone but many nationalists will see this as more proof that Lisburn is only a city for one section of the community.
“This monument will stand as an indictment of the sectarian and exclusively unionist agenda which has been pursued by this council virtually since its inception.”
The UDR, a predecessor of the Royal Irish Regiment, had its old headquarters in Lisburn. The council awarded the regiment the freedom of Lisburn in 1990.
An equality impact study conducted by the council into the city centre’s suitability for the UDR memorial found no problems.
Democratic Unionist Party councillor Andrew Ewing said the UDR memorial plans would win the support of all communities in Lisburn.
“The UDR protected both communities. Establishing a permanent memorial in the centre of Lisburn would be a fitting tribute to the brave men and women, both Catholic and Protestant, who served in the regiment,” he said.

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