Plans for a permanent memorial to remember those who lost their lives in the Belfast Blitz have moved a step closer after members of Belfast City Council voted to adopt the scheme as “an emerging capital project”.
The new memorial, likely to be erected on council-owned land at Cathedral Gardens at York Street/Lower Donegall Street, will remember the 1,000 people — civilians and military personnel — who were killed when German bombers targeted the city in 1941.
At their meeting on Monday night, councillors voted 26 - 22 in favour of the memorial proposal, with only Sinn Fein and SDLP members voting against. Alliance and People Before Profit representatives abstained.
Welcoming the outcome of the vote, Ulster Unionist Councillor Jeff Dudgeon said: “I believe this decision should be welcomed by everyone. This is most emphatically not a unionist proposal. The Nazi bombs did not discriminate between Protestants and Catholics and that is why I am so disappointed that there should be any opposition, even tactical, to a city centre memorial.
“If there is one thing that should surely command support of every citizen of Belfast and their elected representatives, it is a memorial to the almost 1,000 people who died, and the 15,000 people who were rendered homeless in the air raids of April and May 1941.”
It is understood the Northern Ireland War Memorial have offered to donate up to £100,000 towards the cost of the project.
“Council staff have the matter in hand and preliminary designs have been drafted in readiness for a substantial memorial that will include the names of both the civilian and service dead,” Cllr Dudgeon added.