DSD must answer questions on Bangor loyalist garden says Alliance

North Down Alliance MLA, Stephen Farry, has written to the DSD Minister, Margaret Ritchie, to clarify the role of her Department in funding a loyalist paramilitary memorial in Kilcooley, Bangor.

Dr Stephen Farry MLA stated: “I am deeply concerned about this memorial garden. It is a glorification of terrorism and is something that has been imposed upon the local community. No doubt people want to remember those that have died, including those that have been caught up in terrorism, but any celebration of the activities of paramilitaries from any side is completely inappropriate.

“I am further concerned that this has been funded by the Department of Social Development, through the Housing Executive. Agencies across Northern Ireland are already struggling to deal with similar loyalist and republican memorials, but it beggars believe that the public purse would actually be used to fund something like this, particularly given the existing pressures on the housing budget.

“It is clear that something has gone badly wrong with this. I can only see two potential scenarios. First, NIHE officials clearly understood what was going to be built with the support of public funds in which case very poor judgement was shown. Second, what was built was not was originally understood and supported by NIHE officials in which major issues regarding accountability and monitoring the use of money were not followed through.

“I have written to the Minister for Social Development seeking urgent clarification on this issue. She has rightly spoken up for a shared future and I would hope and expect that she will share my outrage at this use of public funds.”


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