A £55,000 bronze statue is one of the options that’s being considered by Belfast City Council in a plan for a fourth City Hall tribute to the British security forces.
The new statue is one of a number of ideas that the Council has come up with to pay tribute to the “servicemen and women who served during Operation Banner”. Operation Banner was the operational name for the deployment of British soldiers and the RUC in the North during the conflict.
This week the Council wrote to a number of groups to inform them that a consultation process on the nature and cost of the memorial will begin at City Hall next Thursday. One of the groups invited to attend the first consultation meeting is local victims’ group Relatives For Justice.
RFJ Director Mark Thompson last night told the Andersonstown News that his group will be raising the matter with the Equality Commission as a matter of urgency. He said that RFJ would also be seeking legal advice in relation to a possible injunction, citing the Council’s failure to consult ahead of the drawing up of the memorial plans.
“Families will proactively assert their rights as ratepayers too,” added Mr Thompson.
Yesterday, a protest was held at the gates of City Hall by a number of local people who have lost loved ones at the hands of British state forces.
Confusingly, the unionist motion calling for a new British Army/RUC tribute at City Hall was passed over five years ago – in September 2007. In recent years moves have been afoot to make the City Hall – traditionally dominated by loyalist and British icons – more welcoming to nationalists.