War memorial upkeep concern

The War Memorial in the Diamond, Derry. DERR3715GS099
The War Memorial in the Diamond, Derry. DERR3715GS099

Independent Councillor, Gary Donnelly, has claimed members of the public should not be saddled with the maintenance bill for the Diamond War Memorial because it is not owned by the Council.

However, it emerged at DC&SDC’s September meeting that the local authority has a statutory duty to ensure the safety of the cenotaph.

Colr. Donnely raised the matter before the Council ratified minutes of September’s Business & Culture Committee proceedings during which DUP Alderman Graham Warke requested improvement works be carried out prior to the November 11 Remembrance Day services.

He said he understood a moratorium on major renovation work at the monument remained in place and argued that it was unfair that local ratepayers had to contribute to its maintenance.

“We don’t own it and have no responsibility for it,” said Colr. Donnelly.

He compared the situation with the Diamond War Memorial with that of the numerous mews lanes dotted throughtout the city, which are not the responsibility of the Council and as such are not upkept by it.

“Ratepayers should not be forced to pay for the clean up of something we don’t own,” he argued.

DC&SDC Director of Environment & Regeneration Karen Philips acknowledged the Council had previously agreed that no major restoration works would be funded by the Council.

However, she said an inspection by officers had resulted in some health and safety issues arising and that minor maintenance works had been carried out.

The City Solicitor, Philip Kingston, meanwhile, advised members that the Council had a statutory repsonsibiliy to ensure the monument’s safety.

The minutes were duly ratified.