1916: Dungiven groups want use of flowerbeds

Sinn Fein cllr Tony McCaul
Sinn Fein cllr Tony McCaul

A community group from Dungiven are to put forward drawings depicting how they propose to use council owned flowerbeds in the town to commemorate the Easter Rising.

At a meeting of Council’s Environmental Services Committee last Tuesday night, Sinn Fein councillor Tony McCaul asked for the use of the four beds on behalf of the group. He told those present that the group wanted to put the numbers 1916 in the beds in flowers.

DUP councillor George Duddy said that allowing the group the use of the beds would be ‘setting a president’. He put forward an amendment, that the decision should be deferred to full council, and that the group should bring a drawing of how they proposed the beds would look.

DUP Alderman Sam Cole described the 1916 commemoration as ‘divisive’, he said: “We have to be careful. It is commendable for the community group to come with such an idea, but this could be used in a divisive manner,” he said.

SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan said he was ‘dumb struck’ by the debate, asking how people could be offended by flowers. “Sure if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction it could read something different,” he said.

PUP councillor Russell Watton added: “I know if I wanted to put 1690 in a flowerbed in Anderson Park, people would not agree. We are setting a president,” he said.

After the vote, in favour of deferring the decision to full Council, cllr McCaul added: “I would have no objection if a Unionist or Loyalist community wanted a flowerbed with 1690 in it.”