Martin Logan, Chairperson of Counties Derry & Antrim Republican Graves Association has taken issue with DUP councillor, Paul McLean’s claim that the association’s plans to have a statue of Pádraig Pearse erected in Broad Street, Magherafelt to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising is “a Sinn Féin stunt.”
He said Councillor McLean’s assertion about their application is “completely wrong.”
Mr Logan said: “Our association which has been in existence for many years is independent of any political party and is governed by a constitution and rules adopted by our membership.
“It is our mission to respectfully remember Ireland’s patriot dead and to advance the egalitarian and inclusive message of the 1916 Proclamation of The Irish Republic.
“It is not a requirement of membership of our association to belong to a political party or to promote the activities of any political party.
“Like other associations and organisation, we have the right to apply for planning permission regarding our proposed monument in memory of all those who died in the struggle for Irish freedom and independence. Many people from various backgrounds across our local area played key roles in the events which led up to the 1916 Easter Rising and in subsequent key moments during the revolutionary decade which flowed from the Proclamation of The Irish Republic.
“During the course of recent weeks and months we have played our part alongside others in rolling out a very successful local programme to remember the Rising which was supported by Mid-Ulster Council. Republican activities in the town of Magherafelt as well as the actions of local people such as Louis Smith who played national leadership roles in advance of The Rising were recalled.”