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1916 Easter Rising memorial planned for Magherafelt

A computer generated image of a memorial to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising which the Co Derry and Antrim Republican Graves want to build in Magherafelt
Connla Young

REPUBLICIANS in Co Derry have revealed plans to build a monument to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising just yards from the proposed site of a similar memorial to British soldiers killed in both world wars.

The application by the Co Derry and Antrim Republican Graves Association includes a life-size granite statue of executed Easter Rising leader Padraig Pearse reading from the proclamation.

The statue would sit in Magherafelt on an engraved granite plinth and reach a height of more than five metres.

The statue recreates the moment Padraig Pearse read the proclamation from the steps of Dublin’s General Post Office on Easter Monday, 1916.

The association, which maintains republican graves and monuments as well as organising commemorations throughout both counties, wants to build the memorial in Broad Street - the town’s main thoroughfare.

A planning application for the memorial says it is “being erected to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising and those who died fighting for Irish freedom”.

There are also plans to include two flagpoles and lighting on a wide footpath separating four lanes of traffic.

The proposed site is just yards from where the Royal British Legion has said it wants to build a memorial dedicated to British soldiers killed in both world wars.

That monument is being modelled on a similar cenotaph in London.

If the republican memorial gets the go ahead it is believed it will be the first of its kind to be erected in a main town centre in the north.

Dozens of republicans from across south Derry mobilised during the rising with many making their way to Coalisland in Co Tyrone before being told the rebellion had been called off.

Co Derry and Antrim Republican Graves Association chair Martin Logan said the organisation had played a key role in recent commemorations.

“The theme for our proposed memorial is 'Proclaiming The Republic' hence the choice of the figure of Padraig Pearse reading the inclusive and egalitarian proclamation to be central to the design of our proposed memorial,” he said.

"Our memorial if granted planning permission will be a fitting tribute to Ireland's patriot dead.”

Sinn Féin assembly member Ian Milne described the association's plan as “exciting”.

“No doubt they will bring the same professionalism in terms of design and theme as they have to the outstanding programme of events they have presented to date across our local area to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising and to pay tribute to all those men and women who died fighting for Irish freedom,” he said.

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