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Funder withdraws ‘support’ for commemoration plaque as council divided over Irish language

Celtic Park  bmcb 6

A KEY funder has withdrawn its application to erect a sign on council property commemorating a visit by a US general to Enniskillen after a war of words erupted between unionist and republican councillors over a bi-lingual sign.

The granite plinth was originally planned to be located in Celtic Park and marks the visit of General Dwight Eisenhower in 1944 who led the D-Day landings during WW2.

However, Hundhunters Museum, who is providing the plaque with the US Consulate, wrote to the council to say it did not have the funding for a bi-lingual sign.

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This prompted Sinn Fein councillor Debbie Coyle to ask for a report outlining the costs of having the sign in both English and Irish and also suggested that the council could foot the bill to cover the remaining cost.

But, a representative from Headhunters has since confirmed to the Fermanagh Herald that it is seeking an alternative location for the sign and is in discussions with the education authority to have it erected on their property, next to Celtic Park.

This means that the council will not have a say on what is written on the plaque.

Spokesperson and curator of Headhunters Railway Museum, Selwyn Johnston, said: “We have withdrawn the application to the erect it on council property.

“We are in discussions with the Education Authority Western Region with the possibility of it being erected on their property which adjoins the Celtic Park.

“It’s as equally as close to the location that General Eisenhower visited. We’re looking at alternatives.

“We would like to have it completed by the latter part of the year and we are working with all parties and the US Embassy to ensure we can fulfil that timeline, subject to working with all parties and making sure it’s positioned correctly.

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“The actual price for it has not be finalised because of where it might go and the price varies as shape.”

However, Sinn Fein councillor Debbie Coyle has claimed that the group has “pulled out of it”, which a spokesperson for Headhunters has denied.

She added that it was a “shame” it will not be placed in Celtic Park.

“As far as I’m aware they have pulled out of it and there’s not going to be a plaque on the council property but I’m not sure why,” she added.

“There was no reason was given only that they had withdrawn the application.

“We weren’t given any other information about it.

“I think it’s a shame as we weren’t given the opportunity to find out the cost of having a bi-lingual sign.”

UUP councillor Raymond Farrell responded: “I am off course disappointed yet not surprised that we will not see a plaque on the Celtic Park site as requested.

“Once again we see Sinn Fein seeking to create strife and division in something that saw both communities, whatever creed or culture, unite in making a contribution too in the Second World War.

“It would have been an added tourism attraction for many people at this sight but sadly others are not interested in this aspect of things in the county. “


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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA