Northern Ireland

Glenariff project funding approved despite 'IRA gates' row

Artist's impression of building Image copyright ON & FA Wheeler
Image caption Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council withdrew £180,000 from the community centre project in June

A council has voted to approve £180,000 for a community project in County Antrim despite a row over the names of two 1920s IRA men on the site gates.

Causeway Coast and Glens Council approved the funding for the project in Glenariff by 19 votes to 18.

In June, the funding was pulled because of opposition by the DUP.

The gates commemorate Charlie McAllister and Pat McVeigh, killed in 1922 in violence that followed the partition of Ireland the previous year.

The DUP had said that the gates leading onto the site would "re-traumatise" people affected by terrorism.

Charlie McAllister and Pat McVeigh

Following the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty, the republican movement was split over the partition of Ireland.

Those who did not accept partition continued to fight the British.

In May 1922, Paddy McVeigh and Charlie McAllister were shot dead on their way to take part in an IRA ambush against British forces in north Antrim.

Earlier in the week it was reported that the club's chairman resigned over the vote to move the set of gates to a different position.

But, in a statement to the BBC, he said it was "due to work and personal commitments".

Sinn Féin councillor Cara McShane said the council vote to approve the funding on Tuesday placed no conditions, such as the gates having to be moved.

She accused the DUP of not wanting council money to be spent in the Glens area.

"It's disgusting and disgraceful behaviour and they are creating nothing but negative impact within the Glens community."

Image caption The gates carry the names of two IRA men from the 1920s

DUP councillor Trevor Clarke said he was disappointed by the outcome of Tuesday's vote and that "elevating an application from one group ahead of all others was unfair and unjust".

He added that his party were "astonished" that a majority of Ulster Unionist Party councillors voted to "endorse proposals for a scheme on grounds named after IRA terrorists".

SDLP councillor Margaret-Anne McKillop welcomed the decision but said she was "angry the community in Glenariff have had to jump through hoops to achieve the backing of the council".

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