Unionists act to remove IRA monument in Fermanagh

 

UNIONISTS are to meet planning officials in Fermanagh in an attempt to have a controversial IRA monument removed.

Details of the meeting emerged yesterday as a victim of the 1987 Enniskillen bombing compared the monument to a memorial for the mass murderer, Fred West.

The DUP and Ulster Unionists are planning to meet the authorities in Enniskillen about the future of the monument at Altawalk Cross. It was unveiled on New Year's Day to commemorate IRA men Sean South and Fergal O'Hanlon who died there after being shot by police during a failed ambush on Brookeborough RUC station in 1957.

A Department of the Environment spokesman said there was no record of planning permission for the £4,000 monument. Unionist councillors have received complaints from angry constituents demanding its removal.

The issue may be raised at next week's meeting of Fermanagh District Council's planning committee and next month's council meeting.

A DUP councillor in Enniskillen, Mr Joe Dodds, said: "I have received complaints and intend to speak with the planning service to have this illegal monument removed."

Mrs Noreen Hill, whose husband, Ronnie, remains in a coma as a result of the 1987 bombing, has denounced Sinn Fein statements equating the IRA monument with the war memorial in the town, where 11 people were killed in the bomb attack.

She said: "How can these people equate this IRA monument with the war memorial, as republicans are honouring terrorists? Next, monuments will be going up to Fred West."

The president of Republican Sinn Fein, Mr Ruairi O Bradaigh, has appealed for the monument to be respected. He said: "I think it should not be removed because respect must be shown for the dead. I knew Sean South and I. believe to remove this monument is a ridiculous thing.

Mr Gerry McHugh, a Sinn Fein, councillor, said his party would fight for the memorial's survival because of the tourist potential it offered.