Mid Ulster council denies deal on Magherafelt flag pole

Magherafelt Town Centre - scheduled to receive a revamp.mm03-200ar
Magherafelt Town Centre - scheduled to receive a revamp.mm03-200ar

Unionist and nationalist councillors are staying silent on Magherafelt’s flag pole controversy.

The pole is scheduled to be removed as part of the town’s £1.3m public realm scheme but there has been speculation that a deal has been done between the parties.

Sources have told the Mail the deal involved the removal of the pole in return for the provision of a war cenotaph.

However, a spokesperson for Mid Ulster Council yesterday denied any deal had been done which would suggest the pole is still in line to come down.

It was erected by the District’s Orange Order some years ago and has been at the centre of many heated debates at meetings of the former Magherafelt District Council.

Planners have left the flags issue ‘hanging in the air’, pointing out in their assessment that the matter could be “resolved outside of this application in that if it was to be retained in its current position no consent would be needed”.

They also suggested it could be relocated if a separate planning application was to be made.

Nationalists have been calling for the removal of the flag pole in order to create a shared space in the town centre.

The centre of the roundabout will be occupied by a concrete plinth for feature artwork with natural sandstone around it.

The roundabout itself will be known as ‘The Three Spires Roundabout’ and will be finished around the perimeter with a small natural sandstone unit and amenity shrub planting.

It looks as if the public will have to wait and see if the pole survives as the public realm scheme is rolled out over the coming weeks.