The DUP is to press the Director of Public Prosecutions to clarify what constitutes an offence of glorifying terrorism in light of a major new terror memorial in Lurgan .
The large structure, which is being built on the outskirts of the town’s LurganTarry estate, is being built on Housing Executive land without planning permission.
The structure, which has eight pillars, is being built by Republican Sinn Fein (RSF) to commemorate those who died in the Easter Rising and “all those who died as a result of British occupation in Ireland”.
The US State Department proscribed RSF for links to the Continuity IRA, which it described as its “armed wing”. RSF rejected the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Founder Ruairí Ó Brádaigh made international headlines in 2009 after he refused to condemn the CIRA murder of Constable Stephen Carroll, just outside Lurgan.
Lurgan DUP councillor Carla Lockhart said last night: “This is a blatant case of terrorism being glorified. As Northern Ireland moves forward we should not be romanticising violence of yesteryear. This incident makes the case for new legislation to enhance and strengthen anti-terrorism and anti-glorification of terrorism laws.
“I will be writing to the Director of Public Prosecutions asking what he believes constitutes glorification of terrorism in Northern Ireland.”
Councillor Lockhart added: “Its size will make it a dominating feature of the area and its placement beside a school is deeply concerning. It is being constructed by Republican Sinn Fein who have made it quite clear that its purpose is to celebrate not just those who participated in the Easter rebellion in Dublin, but those who engaged in a terrorist campaign here in Northern Ireland.
“I have no doubt it will also be used to muster support for dissident republicans who still engage in terrorism today and wish to drag Northern Ireland back.
“I have contacted the Chief Executive of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council to investigate taking forward a planning enforcement case. I have requested to meet with the Housing Executive locally and also spoken with the DSD Minister asking him to investigate.”
In the shadow of St Ronan’s College, the memorial is being built on communal grassland owned by the NI Housing Executive, which has confirmed it hasn’t given permission for the structure.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council confirmed that no planning permission has been sought.
A spokesman for RSF said the memorial is being erected in memory of Edward Costello, a Lurgan man who died when taking part in the Easter Rising in 1916 – and many other republicans.
They had carried out door to door collections for the memorial, he said, and no one had voiced any concern about erecting the monument.
He said planning permission had not been sought.
RSF said it has undertaken the “huge project to erect a memorial garden as a fitting tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of Irish freedom over the past 100 years”.