Mayor warns good causes must not be harmed after festival names event after terrorist

Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Council Julie Flaherty
Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Council Julie Flaherty

A Mayor has warned good causes must not be harmed and she distanced herself from the West Armagh Community Festival which held a sporting event named after an IRA woman.

The festival hosted a gaelic football tournament named after Mairead Farrell, who was killed on an IRA mission in Gibraltar. It was in Sherry’s Field, which is owned by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council (ABC).

Mayor of ABC Council Julie Flaherty attended an event at to support a special school and a breast cancer charity. She insisted that should not be seen as an endorsement of the Mairead Farrell event.

The Ulster Unionist councillor said the cuases she will be suporting affect the entire community and it is only fitting that they receive the wholehearted support.

“It is deeply regrettable that they should be dragged into the controversy generated by having events named after convicted terrorists, and be made to suffer by association. That is something which the festival organisers must reflect on.

“I share the concerns of many people at the fact that council facilities were used to host a Women’s Gaelic football tournament named after someone who died on a murder mission to plant a bomb.

“As my Party colleague Cllr Sam Nicholson has said, this sends out a very negative message to the Unionist community and especially to the people in the ABC Council area who suffered at the hands of IRA terrorism throughout the Troubles.

“The Ulster Unionists on ABC council want to work to build a shared future where tolerance, respect and understanding are common place and we are in no doubt that having events named after convicted terrorists as part of a Community festival, does not help community relations or encourage cross-community participation.”