A stained glass window crafted in tribute to the Ulster Defence Regiment will soon be taking pride of place in a more prominent position within Belfast City Hall.
Following a decision taken by councillors last month, the much-admired artwork will be relocated to a public area of the building rather than behind a locked door and visible only to those on a guided tour or official business.
The window was commissioned to commemorate all those who served in the regiment between 1970 and 1992.
When the regiment was amalgamated with the Royal Irish Rangers (to become the Royal Irish Regiment) in 1992, it was the largest regiment in the British Army and had been on active service longer than any other since the Napoleonic wars.
Almost 200 of its members were murdered by terrorists during those years and more than 60 killed after leaving the service. Hundreds more were injured or traumatised.
The window will replace the current Celtic Myths and Legends window on the ground floor, which is being moved to the east end of the front corridor.
UDR Benevolent Fund chairman Wesley Duncan welcomed the repositioning of the window: “I welcome that it is going to be in a much more prominent position rather than down a corridor where visitors to the City Hall, former members of the regiment and their families can see it. I think that is good news.”
The vice-chairman of the UDR Regimental Association NI also praised the council’s decision. Don Eakin said the window was something that should be seen by all visitors to the landmark building.
“I very much welcome that anyone moving about the City Hall will see the window. It is a beautiful window and a great tribute to the regiment, particularly with the inclusion of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross that Her Majesty the Queen presented in 2006,” he said.
Councillor Lee Reynolds said the issue of repositioning the window was raised after he witnessed tourists, who were attempting to take a picture of the window, being told off by a security guard for being in an authorised area.
The DUP representative said: “It is appropriate the stained glass window in tribute to the UDR, who were awarded freedom of the city of Belfast, is now going to have full public access. I would expect it to happen within months.”
Last month the UDR Benevolent Fund appealed for former members, or their dependants, who have fallen on hard times to contact the fund to see if practical assistance can be offered.
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