Sinn Féin has called for a review after a Poppy Day wreath for the unionist paramilitary UVF was laid at Belfast City Council’s cenotaph in the Garden of Remembrance at City Hall.
The tribute which carried the letters ‘UVF’ was left at the memorial during a remembrance event last Sunday. The wreath was removed during the week.
The ‘Ulster Volunteer Force’ has been responsible for the murder of more than 500 innocent civilians during the conflict, often acting in collusion with British state forces. A note attached to the UVF tribute said it was in memory of those who died in World War One “and subsequent conflicts”.
News of the tribute generated anger and frustration in the nationalist community. Sinn Féin council group leader, Councillor Ciarán Beattie, said that he had spoken to the council’s Chief Executive asking for an internal review.
“Obviously there has been a lot of coverage around this, particularly on social media and we want to get the answers on it. We need to make sure that this is treated sensitively going forward,” he said.
“We need to make sure that there is no hurt caused to anyone whether it’s through wreaths or displays in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.”
A Belfast City Council spokesperson said the cenotaph was a public area and anyone can lay their own wreaths in remembrance following the official ceremony “at specially allocated time slots”.
“The placing of this wreath was not part of the official acts of remembrance organised by the Council. The wreath was removed on Monday morning, and the matter will be discussed with party group leaders later this week.”