Adams welcomes Bog Meadows/Milltown Cemetery breakthrough
West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has welcomed the announcement today that the Ulster Wildlife Trust has agreed to transfer 2.4 hectares of land back to the Down and Connor Diocese for Milltown Cemetery as part of the resolution of the grievance of bereaved families.
Mr Adams said :
“I want to welcome the decision made by the Board of the Ulster Wildlife Trust to agree the transfer of land adjacent to the Bog Meadows back to Milltown cemetery and the Down and Connor Diocese.
Great hurt has been caused to families whose loved ones have been buried beyond the consecrated ground of Milltown cemetery, within the boundary of the Bog Meadows nature reserve. This controversy has also caused consternation within the wider community.
Over several months, some of the families affected, together with the Ulster Wildlife Trust and Down and Connor Diocese, have been working to find a resolution to this matter.
In recent weeks, progressive steps have been taken including: a detailed scientific examination of the lands; clearance of the sites; a public apology by the Diocesan Bishop; and a blessing of the grounds.
I would like to commend all those who have been working to find a resolution. Today’s announcement by the Ulster Wildlife Trust is another, positive step.
Sinn Féin representatives including Mayor Tom Hartley, MLA Paul Maskey and myself have been involved in liaison with all parties affected. The families have conducted their campaign with dignity despite the traumatic and distressing nature of this experience. I think that appropriate counselling or emotional support should be made available and I hope that in due course, other families will be able to access information about their loved ones as the land transferred becomes accessible to those who wish to visit.
I know that the liaison is ongoing with those families who have come forward and will hopefully lead to a suitable and agreed form of memorial for those buried in Bog Meadows. I now hope that that speedy progress can be made to final resolution of this episode, and that an appropriate legacy can be created for families and the wider community.”