THE Army’s 38-year deployment to Northern Ireland is set to be remembered at Belfast City Hall more than five years after it was proposed.
Some 763 soldiers died, while 6,100 were injured during Operation Banner, which ran from 1969 to 2007.
However a memorial has been delayed since it was first proposed in 2007 due to a lack of agreement between politicians. There is no memorial in recognition of the whole operation, although a memorial to the Ulster Defence Regiment, funded by the UDR Trust, was unveiled in Lisburn in June 2011.
Several options are being considered by the council. The first suggestion is to modify the existing stained glass window in tribute to the UDR to include the Conspicuous Gallantry cross awarded by the Queen in 2006, along with an interpretive brass plaque to be placed alongside the window, which would cost £1,800.
The second option, which would cost £25,100, would include a granite bench and four semi-mature trees (one for each decade of Operation Banner) with a dedication plaque on one planter located in the Garden of Remembrance. The third option is an external bronze memorial on a Portland stone plinth at the price of £55,000.
DUP councillor Ruth Patterson first proposed the motion in 2007. She proposed at that time that the council “agrees to construct a fitting memorial to the servicemen and women who helped to maintain peace and law and order during the duration of Operation Banner”.
Full story in Monday’s News Letter