MOTORISTS in Ballynahinch have been asked to show more respect for the dead of two world wars and other conflicts by not parking at the town’s cenotaph.
The appeal has been issued by Rowallane councillor Billy Walker after he noticed a number of cars parked on new paving which has been provided at the base of the war memorial which the local community helped raised tens of thousands of pounds to erect.
The local politician has raised his concerns with both Transport NI and Newry, Mourne and Down Council and is appealing to drivers to use the numerous car parks which are available in the town centre.
Councillor Walker fears the cars will damage the base of the cenotaph erected in memory of people from both sides of the community who fought during the two world wars in particular.
“There is simply no excuse in my opinion for effectively parking on top of the memorial. The structure should be treated with respect. People who are parking their cars at this location at the top of Main Street should really know better,” he declared.
Councillor Walker said a large area at the top of Main Street on the opposite side of the road from the cenotaph where people previously parked is no longer available, but he warned this is not an excuse to park on top of the paved area at the cenotaph.
He explained he has contacted both Transport NI and the local council as he is not sure who is responsible for this part of Ballynahinch.
“Research I have conducted indicates that it is a criminal offence to park on a memorial and my appeal to people who are parking at the top of Main Street is to move somewhere else,” said Councillor Walker.
“They need to show a little more respect. The problem has become more acute over the past few weeks and given the many parking spaces there are in Ballynahinch town centre, there is no excuse for this.”
Councillor Walker added: “Perhaps one way of addressing the matter is placing bollards on the paved area at the base of cenotaph so it cannot be used as a parking area. I have no doubt many people will be alarmed to discover this is happening in Ballynahinch.
“Given the major community effort to help provide a new memorial, it is essential everything is done to protect it for future generations so they can continue to pay their respects to men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”