‘Don’t take them down’


The chairman of a County Antrim Gaelic sports club has resigned after it voted to remove entrance gates dedicated to the memory of two Irish War of Independence martyrs in order to secure a grant from a unionist-controlled council.

Eddie Haughey quit after members of Oisin Glenariffe hurling club took the decision in a secret ballot at a special meeting last week. It is understood the managers of two of the club’s teams have also resigned.

The club’s grounds are named after two IRA men, Charlie McAllister and Pat McVeigh, who were killed during a gun battle with B-Specials near in Glenariffe in May 1922 - months after the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed.

The Glens of Antrim club had sought 180,000 pounds from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council to help build a new community centre on its land. Unionist councillors moved to block the funds as part of an effort to remove the erase the memory of the two local heroes. The DUP claimed that the gates leading onto the site would “re-traumatise” people.

On Tuesday night, following the club’s decision to submit to the DUP demands to remove the gates, the council narrowly approved the funding when it met in Coleraine.

Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane noted the council approval placed no conditions, such as the gates having to be moved. She accused the DUP of “political posturing” and seeking to use “any means possible to treat people in this part of the borough as second class citizens.”

She said there is no political agenda in the building of the centre. “The last thing anyone wants is for this facility, which is a much-needed in a rural community, to be used for political point-scoring. People are very emotional,” she said.

There have already been calls for the club’s decision to be reversed. Ballycastle based councillor Padraig McShane accused the council of “intransigence”

“The club members should not have been put in that position,” he said. “They were put in this position because of the unrelenting anti-Irish sentiment of Causeway Coast and Glens council.”

Mr McShane urged the GAA community in the Glens to stay unified.

“I wish Glenarriffe and all the fellow Gaels the very best,” he said. “A unity of purpose will see us rise a monument fitting to the two volunteers.”

We have a favour to ask

We want to keep our publication as available as we can, so we need to ask for your help. Irish Republican News takes time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. If everyone who reads our website helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

For as little as £1, you can support Irish Republican News – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

© 2016 Irish Republican News