Sinn Féin criticise council after Carnlough Easter Rising memorial removed
Sinn Féin has criticised a council over a decision to remove a memorial in County Antrim to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
It is understood Mid and East Antrim Borough Council employed contractors to take down the memorial in Carnlough in the early hours of Friday morning.
The council had not given permission for the memorial to be erected, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said.
But Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan said the move was "utterly disrespectful".
"We do concede that the people who put it up didn't have permission from the council," he said.
"Their view was that the council wouldn't have allowed it anyway, and they wanted to put something up here to remember 1916."
Mr McMullan said nationalists in Carnlough are "absolutely furious" that the 1916 memorial had been taken away while loyalist memorials in the council area were allowed to remain in place.
He also claimed the memorial had been a "tourist attraction".
"The council now needs to recognise this community, their aspirations and what they think of their culture and history," he added.
"This memorial needs to go back."
But DUP MLA Gordon Lyons said a council equality policy had not been followed by those who erected the memorial in the seaside village.
"When the new council came into being an equality working group was formed with members of all parties," he said.
"If people want to erect memorials, the policy is now in place for them to do so and that should be adhered to."