In response to a poster being erected by Sinn Fein at the Cenotaph in Omagh for the second time in two years, Ulster Unionist Councillor Chris Smyth has called on Sinn Fein to remove its political posters before any Acts of Remembrance take place.
Cllr Smyth said:
“This is the second year in a row that Sinn Fein has erected political posters in the vicinity of the Cenotaph in Omagh. It advertises an event which was held in the Strule Arts Centre about mental health on Saturday past - and it is still there today. I work in the field of mental health and wish to put it firmly on record that I welcome any attempts by political parties to improve mental health in Northern Ireland, but at this very special time of Remembrance, it is at best insensitive for Sinn Fein, an organisation which supported the IRA`s terrorist campaign and which in recent times has further traumatised victims by refusing to condemn the Enniskillen Remembrance Day bomb, to erect signs on the railings of the Cenotaph so close to events which will be held during Remembrance week.
“I am angry that this is the second time that this has happened, with similar scenes at the Cenotaph last year. Omagh is a big town and there are many places that signs can be erected that would have the same visual impact. Why, oh, why must Sinn Fein insist on placing signs at this one spot which they know is special to those who lost loved ones in the service of Queen and Country in past wars and also including the Troubles. Some of those named died at the hands of the IRA terrorists who Sinn Fein supported and continue to eulogise causing further mental trauma for their families.
“Sinn Fein claim that they stand for respect, honesty and integrity. Their actions do not match their words and they should voluntarily remove the signs as soon as possible. If not I will be forced to investigate if a number of Council protocols have been broken, which I believe they have been. I have already spoken with Council officers to progress that route but hope that official action is not necessary.
“The whole incident is very disappointing. I hate to see two issues that I am very passionate about, mental health and Remembrance, brought down into the political area by at best an incredibly insensitive action and at worst a direct attempt to wind people up.”