ROSSLEA. RIPRISTINATA TARGA IN ONORE DI BOBBY SANDS
A plaque to IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands has been reinstated in Rosslea, Co Fermanagh as part of a council regeneration project.
The £66,000 overhaul is part of the council’s environmental improvement scheme to enhance the appearance of the area.
Work carried out has improved paving and walls, installing flower beds as well as upgrading seating and bins.
The plaque was originally installed in 2006 as a memorial to Sands who was elected Fermanagh South Tyrone MP in 1981 while on hunger strike at the Maze Prison and died a month later.
Tens of thousands have gone to refurbish the privately-owned village square at the junction of Main Street and Church Street where a new wall has been built and the plaque erected.
The decision to reinstate it at the cost of £134 has been criticised by UUP MLA for the area, Tom Elliott.
He told the Impartial Reporter: “My assertion that Fermanagh District Council is becoming a cold house for unionists is being copper fastened virtually on a weekly basis.
“Bobby Sands was a member of an organisation that was responsible for the murder of almost 2,000 members of our society, many of the murders were brutal and involved torture of their victims.”
The regeneration was part-funded by the council, with the majority of funds provided by South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD).
Mr Elliot questioned how the council approved the reinstatement of the memorial and if SWARD would continue to fund the entire project which includes another 11 towns and villages in the county.
But Brendan Hegarty, chief executive for the council said they would not be claiming grant money for the plaque from SWARD.
“Whilst the council and SWARD approved funding for the village enhancement schemes they would not be aware of the itemised details of the schemes,” he added.