DSD must learn lessons from Bangor loyalist memorial says Farry

North Down Alliance MLA, Stephen Farry, has welcomed the belated recognition by the Department of Social Development and the NI Housing Executive that something went wrong with their plans for a community garden of reflection in Kilcooley, Bangor, and has called for the proper lessons now be learnt and applied from this experience regarding how to best engage on the ground with the legacy of paramilitarism.

Dr Stephen Farry MLA stated: “I welcome the fact that the Department of Social Development and the NI Housing Executive have accepted that something has gone badly wrong with this project. However, this may be a case of shutting the barn door after the house has bolted.

“I have spoken to the Minister, Margaret Ritchie, who is naturally furious over what was happened. I have written to her seeking a formal response. I understand now that a full investigation is underway.

“Any investigation must be far-reaching and transparent. It must address issues relating to the origins of this project, and the commitments made. It must examine the processes for monitoring and accountability regarding the use of scarce public money.

“A central lesson that must come out of this process is how the public sector can engage effectively with the legacy of paramilitarism. Despite the ceasefires, we still have a paramilitary infrastructure that seeks to control what happens or does not happen in many parts of Northern Ireland. Far too often, the public sector colludes with these self-appointed gatekeepers on the pretence that they are the voice of the community. This short-term containment approach is ultimately self-defeating. Greater efforts must be made to build things up from the grass-roots and to ensure that all voices within communities are listened to.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *