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Sinn Féin candidate evokes United Irishmen in A6 row poem

Sinn Féin election candidate Peter Doran
Connla Young

A Sinn Féin election candidate has evoked the memory of the United Irishmen in a poem about the disputed A6 road which is planned for an area of countryside associated with Seamus Heaney.

Queen's university academic Peter Doran referred to United Irishman and republican icon Roddy McCorley, who was hanged by the British near Toome in 1800, in a poem about plans to build a new section of the A6 between Derry and Belfast.

The High Court in Belfast is expected to rule this morning on whether the contentious section of road will go ahead after a legal challenge was launched by environmentalist Chris Murphy.

The decision to press ahead with the road plan was taken by former Stormont Sinn Féin minister Chris Hazzard last year.

Mr Doran unsuccessfully stood as a Sinn Féin candidate in Lagan Valley in the assembly elections.

Campaigners have voiced fears that a portion of the planned route will cut through an area of countryside between Toome and Castledawson closely associated with poet Seamus Heaney, while others say it will damage the local environment.

In the poem, called 'The Quick and the Dead: A6', Mr Doran wrote: “And now I'll join McCorley, under the road at Toome.

“The quick, they fight for country, but not for love of land or slow watery bog.

“Speed is the new colonizer.

“No time for mindful commons.

“And now I'll join the rebel McCorley, under the road at Toome.”

Mr Doran last night praised Chris Hazzard, whom he described as “outstanding “.

He added that “the party's decisions should be seen in a much wider context of addressing deep infrastructural deficits that have arisen as part of the North's history”.

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