Northern Ireland

Call for statue in honour of May Blood to be erected at Belfast City Hall

Calls have been made for a statue to be erected at Belfast City Hall in honour of Baroness May Blood. Picture Mal McCann.
Calls have been made for a statue to be erected at Belfast City Hall in honour of Baroness May Blood. Picture Mal McCann.

A STATUE of the late Baroness May Blood should be commissioned and place in the grounds of Belfast City Hall, Alliance councillor Michael Long has said.

Mr Long was speaking following the death of the former Labour peer and social justice campaigner who died on Friday aged 84.

Baroness Blood, who was from Belfast, had been a champion of integrated education and during a campaigning career also served as president of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland and had played an integral part in establishing the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition in the 1990s.

Mr Long said as well as statue within the grounds of city hall, a book of condolence should also be opened.

“Everyone was devastated to hear the news of May Blood’s passing and my thoughts go out to her loved ones and colleagues,” he said.

“She was universally loved across Belfast and indeed Northern Ireland, which was evident in the range of tributes from all quarters which followed the announcement of her death.

“City hall has two remaining spots for statues available in the grounds and while it would likely be the last thing May would have asked for, we believe it would be the perfect tribute to her given the impact she made on all who met her, subject to her family agreeing to the proposal.

“I also believe a book of condolence being opened at city hall would also allow the people of the city to pay their own tributes to Baroness Blood.

“The recent decision to erect statues of Mary Ann McCracken and Winifred Carney at city hall has helped improve the recognition of women to the history of our city. One of May Blood would bring further acknowledgement and diversity," he said.

“Any statue would likely take some years to produce and erect, but it would ensure her legacy will be permanently remembered and live on in future generations.”

Elevated to the House of Lords in 1999 the former linen mill worker served as a peer before retiring in 2018.

The peer was regularly involved in community work throughout her life, running a training project for long-term unemployed men in the Shankill Road and also being involved with the Greater Shankill Partnership.

She was awarded an MBE in 1995 and also held honourary degrees from QUB, UU and the Open University.