Sinn Féin welcomes Milltown babies accord
Discussions hosted by Sinn Féin over recent months concluded this week between relatives of the Milltown Babies, the Ulster Wildlife Trust and the Down and Connor Diocese.
The discussions have been led by West Belfast MP Gerry Adams and MLA Paul Maskey who both welcomed the final agreement that was reached this Wednesday (9th December 2009).
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said:
“Paramount in this process has been undoing the wrong done to families many years ago. Some of the relatives who have been affected by these events joined us in these discussions.
“Their persistence in campaigning has been rewarded with an agreement.
“I hope that this will give all of those families who have been affected over many years some peace of mind as we approach Christmas.”
West Belfast MLA Paul Maskey said:
“This dispute has been deeply emotive and at times appeared to be intractable. I think it is a credit to all of those who have participated in this dialogue that we have overcome differences and defined a basis for agreement.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in trying to find a resolution. Our focus will now move to the prayer service on Saturday 19th December and to ensuring that all aspects of this agreement are speedily progressed.”
Details of the Agreement
Agreement has been reached between Relatives of the Milltown Babies, the Milltown Cemetery Trustees and the Ulster Wildlife Trust about the future of the disputed land between the Bog Meadows and Milltown.
As a consequence all of the 5.9 acres involved will be returned to the Cemetery.
In addition the transferred lands will be blessed and work will commence on a Commemorative Garden which is intended to be completed by Cemetery Sunday 2010.
The Ulster Wildlife Trust will have limited access to Section D for specified purposes, for example bird ringing.
This section will not be developed for at least a ten year period and will be reviewed at that time.
Should evidence of burials in this section emerge at any time relatives of those involved will be given appropriate access.
A prayer service will be held at the bottom of Milltown Cemetery at 3pm on Saturday 19th December 2009.
Information from the burial records will be available to families.
This requires at least 24 hours notice. These will also be digitalised and in due course placed in the Public Records Office.