A row has erupted at Stormont after it was revealed an IRA monument in Co Armagh could be eligible to receive a facelift using European funding.

20 Feb 2012

**Video onsite

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) recently agreed to assess an application from the Crossmaglen Memorial Heritage Committee, which means the monument could be eligible to receive funding of up to £30,000.

TUV leader Jim Allister said if the application goes ahead, it will be “an appalling abuse of rural development and funding”.

“This application should’ve been put in the bin the very day it arrived,” he told UTV.

“We’ve a minister who’s supposed, under her code of conduct, to be all-embracing and moving on, and here she is considering an application to refurbish a monument to glorify terrorism.”

Agriculture Minister, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill said the proposal from the Heritage committee is “for the preservation, updating and completion of a monument located in the square in Crossmaglen.

“This involves the addition of several plaques to the existing monument. The wording of the plaques relates to the background and siting of the monument, and information about the sculpture.”

The proposal is being reviewed by a cluster group made up of councils in the southern area and Minister O’Neill said any decision to fund the project will be made by the Joint Council Committee.

A spokesperson for Sinn Féin did not confirm whether or not the party was supporting the application, but said: “We understand that an application has been made but all applications are subject to a consideration process and set criteria”.

It is not yet known when a decision on the application will be made, but the TUV says if it gets the green light, the party is determined to fight it.