Friday, 11 September 2015
On Monday night Mid and East Antrim Borough Council considered a request from the UDR Association to place a memorial to those who served in the Memorial Garden, Ballymena.
I was absent for the decision, as a former member of the Regiment I was required to declare an interest and leave the chamber as did two other Councillors who had also served, one being the Mayor.
The original request for permission to erect the memorial was made some 5 years ago to the legacy Ballymena Borough Council. For the past 5 years this proposal has been sidelined and filibustered by the actions of Nationalists and Republicans on the Council. That process ended with the establishment of the new council in April of this year.
What did not end was the vitriolic hatred directed at those who served in the Regiment by elements of Nationalism and Republicanism. Over 40,000 men and women served in the Regiment during the years of conflict. A tiny minority broke the law and committed terrible crimes but theirs is not the history of the Regiment. The vast, vast majority of members served honourably and at great risk to themselves and their families to safeguard our society. It is in their memory that the request to place a a memorial was made and it is in their memory and recognition of their service that Mid and East Antrim Borough Council approved that request.