Antrim and Newtownabbey locations to get lasting memorials to Queen Elizabeth II

A lasting memorial to Her late Majesty the Queen is to be established at two locations in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough.

A statue of Queen Elizabeth II is to be put in place alongside one of her late husband Prince Philip at Antrim Castle Gardens.

A second commemoration was requested in Newtownabbey at a meeting of the borough council which took place at Mossley Mill on Monday evening.

Threemilewater DUP Councillor Sam Flanagan who proposed the motion commented on social media: “Delighted to bring forward a motion to council this evening, which recognises the long life and steadfast service our late Queen gave to this country and the Commonwealth.

Her Majesty The Queen

“Despite some opting to abstain from supporting it, the motion thankfully went unopposed and was supported by the majority of councillors. This means the council will put in place lasting tributes to Queen Elizabeth II throughout the borough and will also commence with the preparations for the coronation of King Charles III.”

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Flanagan said that Her late Majesty was someone who “commanded respect from all corners,transcending politics”.

“She was the bedrock of our functioning democracy,” he said. “It follows that the Royal Family has had a significant positive impact on this province.”

He also spoke of turning to the future and the borough playing its part in the coronation of King Charles III.

Antrim Castle Gardens

Cllr Flanagan went on to say he has no doubt that the council will provide an “impactful event” to mark the coronation and that it will be something that residents will “thoroughly enjoy” and to “deliver a moment in history to be part of”.

Sovereign Lady

The motion read: “This council acknowledges, with sadness, the recent passing of our late sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth II.  Pays tribute to the exemplary dignity, wisdom and diligence with which Her Late Majesty served our nation and the Commonwealth. Further acknowledges the tremendous debt of gratitude owed for the personal sacrifice and unwavering loyal devotion over her glorious 70 year reign. This council commits thus to honour and enshrine her memory in tangible commemoration across the borough and invites council officers to present an options paper to the relevant committee for consideration in due course.

“This council shall also establish a sub-committee to commence preparation for the coronation of His Majesty, King Charles III.”

The motion was seconded by Glengormley DUP Cllr Paula Bradley who described Queen Elizabeth II as a monarch whose “commitment and steadfastness is unparalleled”.

She noted the council’s plans for a permanent memorial to His Royal Highness Prince Philip at Antrim Castle Gardens.

“Something similar could be considered to ensure for us in our borough they are together.  Something in this part of the borough should also be considered.”

She also backed a call for a sub-committee to be set up to commence preparations for the King’s coronation.

Cllr Bradley went on to say that commemorations are something that the council does “very well and should be very proud of”.

“I am a great believer in making memories  and memories for the next generation,” she added.

New King

However, Glengormley Sinn Fein Cllr Michael Goodman said: “While I can understand the motive and feeling behind this motion, unfortunately the way it is drafted  and the way it links the two events means that it is impossible for I or my group, as Irish Republicans, to support the motion. While we have in the past offered our condolences to the family of the late Queen, it would be entirely remiss of me to support the coronation of a new king.

“I am a Republican. I do not believe in a monarchy. I respect the fact that many others in this chamber and beyond do. However for that reason, we can’t support this motion.”

Deputy Mayor Antrim Ulster Unionist Cllr Leah Smyth said: “I think it is a wonderful motion.”

She told members that whilst planning the statue of Prince Philip at Antrim Castle Gardens and conscious of Her late Majesty’s age, this has been taken into consideration and she believes it would be “a fitting plan” for Her Majesty’s statue to be placed beside it.

Cllr Flanagan’s motion was approved after 29 votes in favour and nine abstentions bySinn Fein and SDLP councillors and Dunsilly Alliance Cllr Jay Burbank.

Meanwhile, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has received letters of condolence on the passing of Her late Majesty from the Mayor of Rybnik, Piotr Kuczera and his fellow citizens in Poland who wish to “extend their heartfelt condolences to the Borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey” and the Mayor of Dorsten, Tobias Stockhoff and chair of the Twinning Association, Elisabeth Cosanne–Schulte-Huxel, who “wish to extend their deepest sympathy to the Borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey”.

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Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter