Roger Casement tribute scrapped

MOYLE District Council has scrapped plans for a commemorative event to mark the 90th anniversary of Sir Roger Casement.

The move comes after the Roger Casement Commemoration Committee voiced objection to a motion proposed recently by Sinn Fein Councillor Cara McShane.

Councillor McShane called on council to host a fitting tribute to the man who "spent most of his young life growing up in North Antrim".

However, at last Monday night's council meeting Clerk and Chief Executive Richard Lewis explained that whilst the Casement family had given a positive response, the Commemoration committee took "a negative view of the whole issue".

In discussions with council, representative of the committee, Frank McCarry said the group was "opposed to the motion" and recommended that council "reject it outright".

He added that the committee "disassociates itself from the proposals put in Councillor McShane's 'Notice of Motion'.

Mr McCarry said he "found it unethical that the proposer had not felt it necessary to consult with his committee prior to the motion being put to council".

He is most unhappy that press reports on the subject have "left a public perception that he personally and the existing committee were associated with and agreed with the proposal".

Mr McCarry also questioned the implications for council should the motion be passed by council in terms of revenue funding and human resources.

It was also Mr McCarry's opinion that it was a "public relations exercise to gain votes".

Council Chairman, Seamus Blaney, who is also a member of the committee, stressed that they "do not in any way, shape or form agree with this."

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein Councillor Oliver McMullan called on the Chairman to "declare an interest".

The Chairman hit back: "I let them come to their own decision. We can't go over the heads of a group that is already going to be doing something.

"They are holding a commemorative event on August 3 and everyone is invited to come along."

SDLP Councillor Orla Black suggested that council write to the committee and the Casement family to explain what had been decided which was not to support the motion proposed by Councillor McShane. This was agreed.