Council trailer chained to War Memorial

BANBRIDGE District Council has been accused of being “disrespectful” to the memory of fallen soldiers after chaining an advertising trailer to the War Memorial in Rathriland Square.

A local resident said he was disgusted to see a mobile trailer advertising St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the district set up beside the War Memorial which stands in the centre of the town.

The man, who contacted the Leader to express his outrage, said he cannot understand why the trailer was placed near the memorial.

“I think it’s disrespectful for the Council to even consider tying a promotional trailer to the War Memorial in the Square,” he said. “What were they thinking of? Where are our Councillors at times like this? I suppose situations like this don’t present photo opportunities.

“Well it’s about time Banbridge District Council started to consider people feelings and they should know how sensitive people are to space around the War Memorial.”

It is understood the council also received a complaint about the trailer’s location from Jim Wells MLA’s office on behalf of a constituent.

A spokeswoman from the council said the trailer had been removed as part of it’s ongoing rotation around the district and added that it would have had to be secured to whatever location was chosen.

She said Rathfriland Square is a small space and there are only a certain number of places suitable to host the advertising trailer.

Meanwhile the offended resident also questioned what he called the “mere £5,000” allocated by the council to Jubilee celebrations this year. He compared the funding to the larger amount allocated by neighbouring Newry City and Mourne District Council.

“As I looked at the trailer promoting St. Patrick’s Celebrations in Banbridge it got me thinking about the amount of money being spent on the events in the District,” he said. “How much does the District Council spend annually? I wonder will the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations get as much attention and promotion? Considering the Queen will be celebrating 60 years on the throne I’m well advised that the maximum and total amount of funding to be distributed is £5,000. Surely a Unionist controlled Council should be celebrating this historic milestone

A council spokeswoman said the funding for community events to celebrate the Jubilee, when combined with a special Beacon ceremony at the Outlet in June, brings the total monies allocated to £10,000.

The spokeswoman also explained that the St Patrick’s Day events at the weekend were of little cost to the council as the majority of funding came from outside bodies.

“Most of the celebrations were funded by Peace III while the rest came from the council’s Community Relations Programme which is 75 per cent funded by OFMDFM.”