A war of words has broken out over a motion proposing to name a room at the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre in Limavady after a local politician and UDR captain killed by the IRA in 1972.
An Ulster Unionist proposal was brought to Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council on Tuesday and is due to be debated at Council in committee on August 18th.
Captain McCausland came from a well-known Catholic family who own the large Drenagh estate in Limavady. He was killed by the IRA on March 4, 1972 at the age of 38.
Sinn Féin councillor Brenda Chivers criticised the Ulster Unionist motion, stating “council facilities should be neutral and welcoming spaces for everyone in the community”.
“All council and civic buildings should be neutral and welcoming spaces for everyone in our community. We feel that proposals to name a room in the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre after a UDR member does not reflect that. The UDR was a discredited force, widely acknowledged to have been implicated in collusion with loyalist death squads and as such it is not appropriate that it is remembered in a shared space,” said Colr. Chivers. “We recognise there are different narratives from the conflict and respect the right of everyone to remember their lost loved ones. Council facilities however, should be neutral spaces where everyone in our community can come together.”
However, UUP Colr. Aaron Callan - who proposed the motion - said he was “disappointed” at the reaction from Sinn Fein.
“First of all, this is about recognising the contribution Marcus McCausland made as a councillor and someone who contributed to the local area and, I have to say, that’s what it’s about - recognising him first and foremost. We also must remember the family at the heart of this, who still live in the local area so, I am bit disappointed Brenda has done this because she never said to me at Council, or beforehand there was an issue. I’m annoyed and I think it’s hypocritical of Sinn Fein, but I’m not surprised Sinn Fein have done this.”