Campbell: Sinn Fein responsibile for Easter Rising commemoration block

Alliance Councillor Tom Campbell has said Sinn Fein’s support for DUP proposals to block Antrim and Newtownabbey Council earmarking money to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising as ‘simply bizarre’.

At the latest full Council meeting (Monday, February 29) Sinn Fein’s call for £40,000 to mark the anniversary was rejected in favour of a compromise funding figure of £10,000 – a figure attacked by Sinn Fein as too small.

Yet rather than agree to the figure along with Alliance and the UUP, Sinn Fein opted to join the DUP in rejecting the compromise figure going proposals forward.

Alderman Tom Campbell said: “Over the past few months a designated committee has assessed how best the Council can mark the events of 1916, and what funding should be allocated to take this forward.

“Having participated in good faith on the committee to find a pragmatic, workable figure which could proportionately reflect these events – a figure that was attacked by Sinn Fein in the chamber – this outcome is extremely disappointing.

“Sinn Fein’s decision to support the DUP strikes me as simply bizarre, and can only put it down to Sinn Fein members not understanding Council processes fully – a mistake that has led to any possible funding hitting a brick wall.

“There are in existence alternative sources of funding available, from the Irish Government and from the Heritage Lottery Fund, among others. It is probably now too late for this to be addressed by the Council in time before the 100 year mark next month but the request for funding came very late in the day and we did what we could in the limited available time.

“There was an attempt to link the 1916 revolt with the Somme and of course the events are different: the sacrifice of the Somme was the sacrifice of thousands of young lives in a grinding global war. The Easter Rising was a willingness by a small group to fight to the death for Irish independence.

“But for the Alliance Party, the stand-out tragedy of the whole decade of centenaries, including both of this year’s events, is the terrible permission it allowed for violence in the politics of Ireland.”

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