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Council plans 12-week consultation for Carnlough Easter Rising stone

The original Easter Rising memorial stone in Carnlough erected earlier this year. Picture by Hugh Russell
Brendan Hughes

A COUNCIL plans to send letters to all 563 households in a coastal village about a proposed 3ft memorial stone commemorating the Easter Rising.

Every business in Carnlough, Co Antrim, with more than three employees will be contacted directly as part of a 12-week consultation process.

Notices will also be placed on the council's website, in a local newspaper and in several prominent locations across Carnlough.

The original memorial was removed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in June after being erected on its land without permission.

Sinn Féin's James McKeown criticised the planned consultation for "going overboard".

The councillor, who intends to meet with officials to discuss the matter, questioned if others would be asked to "jump through hoops".

"If it was something to mark the Somme or something to do with loyalism I don't think we would be having this conversation," he said.

"There are other applications for memorials and plaques that go within the borough – will they have to go through the same process?"

The stone, which marks the centenary of the Dublin rebellion against British rule, would again be placed at Hurry Head.

It is inscribed with the dates 1916 and 2016 and includes images associated with the Rising.

Unionists previously criticised the memorial, branding it "provocative" after it was erected without permission in March.

It's understood the council employed contractors to remove the memorial in the early hours of Friday June 17.

The planned consultation includes a council official being available to meet residents at arranged times on two dates in Carnlough, according to documents circulated to councillors.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said the consultation process will begin "shortly".

A spokesman said: "Council's Equality Working Group, which is made up of cross-party representation, agreed at its meeting on August 10 to carry out this consultation as part of the process.

"The aim of the consultation is to collect the views of the local community in Carnlough to the proposed memorial.

"The consultation is due to commence shortly with the publication of a notice in the Larne Times and on the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council website giving details of the process.

"The consultation aims to include all the residents of the area. On completion of the consultation the findings will be considered as part of the process in the final decision.

"Costs associated with this consultation will include the postage costs for 563 letters and administrative costs."

The old Larne Borough Council previously faced criticism after a large metal crown was installed without planning permission on a roundabout in honour of Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee in 2012.

The structure was erected using £13,000 of ratepayers' money on the Circular Road roundabout with the council later applying for retrospective planning permission.

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