February 15, 2014 10:00 am
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Sinn Fein defends decision against ‘war’ grave signs in Breandrum


Breandrum Cemetery on the Tempo Road where no more new adult plots are available after the 31st of March.

SINN Fein members on Fermanagh District Council have come out against signage going up at Breandrum Cemetery to indicate there are ‘war’ graves there.

The party’s former council chairman, Stephen Huggett, told the Herald that, to permit such signage, would result in a ‘free for all’.

In an usual development, the Sinn Fein abstained in a vote that recommended signage going up but then immediately asked to be recorded as dissenting from the proposal which was carried 7-0.

However, all six members then supported a proposal to set up a sub-committee to draw up a policy on signage at cemeteries.

This was defeated by 7 votes against and 6 for.

But,  the issue will be come up for discussion next month.

At last week’s full council meeting, the matter was referred back to this week’s meeting of the environmental services committee.

The proposal for erecting the signage came from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Their map shows 18 ‘war’ graves in the cemetery.

It was at last month’s committee meeting that it was proposed that approval be given to the Commission to erect the sign, and that a suitable location be agreed with their contractor.

As already indicated, the matter was referred back.

Speaking to the Herald this week, Sinn Fein Councillor Huggett insisted there was no animosity intended by Sinn Fein towards the ‘war’ graves sign.

“Anything to do with the dead is very sensitive and it likely to create problems. The issue is that this group wanted to put up a sign at cemeteries, and the council might go along with it, but what if other interest groups wanted to do the same? The classical one would be if it was a republican grave.”

Mr Huggett said it was unlikely that Cross Cemetery would be involved (’I don’t think there’s any question of war dead being buried there’), and, as for ‘parish’ cemeteries, that would be a matter for local churches.

“The basic question was, if we agreed to signage, it was opening up a free for all, and that any specific interest group who had dead buried in a cemetery would be looking to do this.”

The impact of this week’s decision to refer the matter of signage back means that the Committee is free to reconsider the matter and is not tied by any previous vote.

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