A call has been made for ‘greater respect’ at the Marine Gardens Cenotaph after the bill for a recent bout of vandalism reached £8000.
The Mayor of Carrickfergus, Alderman Charles Johnston, made the appeal following Monday night’s World War One centenary service at the war memorial, where six lights were smashed earlier in the year.
The lights, which have since been repaired, were a key feature in Carrickfergus Borough Council’s programme of commemorations after it was decided to illuminate the Cenotaph in red to mark 100 years since the outbreak of WWI.
“The lights were vandalised a few months ago and obviously there was a real push to have them fixed in time for the First World War commemorations,” Ald Johnston said.
“There was a bit of a delay in getting the right parts but thankfully they were repaired in time; the total cost was around £8000.
“A red filter has been put in beneath the glass, so the Cenotaph will be permanently lit in red for the next four years.”
With the cost of repairing the lights having been raised at a meeting of the local authority in May, it was suggested that the wider issue of vandalism be addressed through education in schools.
Ald Johnston added: “There was a great turnout [on Monday evening] and I was pleased to see how many young people were involved. I would appeal for everyone in the town to have the same respect for the Cenotaph and what it stands for.”
Meanwhile, the County Antrim War Memorial at Knockagh was temporarily illuminated in red for one hour on Monday night.