Clash over First World War commemorations

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A working group is being set up by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council aimed at organising events to commemorate the end of World War One.

A DUP proposal to form the group was accepted at a recent council meeting and will include members of the Royal British Legions and Somme Associations.

However, nationalists said the proposal was the wrong approach which sidelined groups such as the Royal British Legion.

DUP Councillor Mark Baxter said, “The working group has been tasked with looking at this very important anniversary in our history and the need to organise and host events that will not only commemorate their sacrifice but educate our young people and leave a lasting legacy to their memory. “

SDLP Councillor Declan McAlinden said: “We believe the proposal put before Council is the wrong approach and could not support the proposal by Councillors Baxter and Causby.

“Council have marked the beginning and individual events during the war so it is only right that the end of the war is marked.

“The SDLP believe there are groups, such as the British Legion who have a central role to play in commemorating such events.

“We asked that Council allow such groups to avail of funds through the Council’s Financial Assistance Programme to plan, organise and coordinate such commemorations.

“If the council decide to organise a separate, simple and dignified event we are happy to support this, however the proposal by Councillors Baxter and Causby effectively means that the groups are side-lined and are no longer the lead organisations in organising these commemorations.