Aghadowey War Memorial delisted?

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A proposal by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to delist the war memorial in Aghadowey has angered some Coleraine councillors.

In a letter to Council, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency said that following a survey, the department has ‘considered the heritage value of the site and concluded that the war memorial is not of the sufficient interest required for statutory protection’.

The war memorial, situated on a corner site at the junction of Ardreagh Road and Ballydevitt Road in Aghadowey, dates back to 1921.

It is thought to have been one of the first memorials erected in Northern Ireland.

It honours the 205 people from the parish who volunteered to fight in the war.

Of those 35 never returned home.

The memorial lists the names of those who died, whilst the names of all those who served in wars are also recorded on the rural memorial.

Speaking at a meeting in Cloonavoin last Tuesday, DUP councillor Knight-McQuillan questioned the report.

She told the meeting that she was not in favour of the war memorial being delisted.

UUP councillor David Harding pointed out that a bill was currently going through Westminister which would mean that all war memorials in England and Wales would be protected.

“I think that war memorials should automatically be listed,” said the UUP man.

“I just feel that Council should look into this Westminster bill a little bit before we make a decision.”

DUP councillor Mark Fielding agreed.

He said: “What about the historical significance of this war memorial. This was one of the first to be erected in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Members agreed that Coleraine Council should write to the Agency objecting to their proposal to delist the memorial.