‘Sinn Fein has tried to politicise WWI commemoration’

Roy Beggs MLA.
Roy Beggs MLA.

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has responded to comments from a Mid and East Antrim Sinn Fein councillor and the subsequent vandalism of the “Ghost Tommy” silhouette in Cairncastle, outside Larne.

In a statement, Mr. Beggs said: ““The Sinn Fein political representative has tried to politicise WW1 commemorations and the Ghost Tommy silhouettes which remember those who did not return.

“By his reckless remarks, he has increased community tensions. This is in stark contrast to the increased recognition from the Irish government that huge losses were occurred from all sections of the community.

“Many young men left Cairncastle never to return. Republicans need to learn to have tolerance and respect for others.”

Sinn Fein councillor James McKeown said that he had been contacted by a number of residents who were unhappy with the Armistice centenary sculptures appearing in the Cairncastle area saying that it showed a “total disregard” for nationalists.

The ‘Ghost Tommy’ figures are a UK-wide initiative commemorating the 880,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed, suffered physical injury or experienced mental trauma as a result of World War One.