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Row brewing over Greencastle statue

CATHOLICS in Greencastle are threatening a mass mobilisation to stop the removal of a statue of Our Lady on the site of an historic Mass Rock.

The statue was erected last year on land earmarked for development as part of controversial goldmine proposals in the area.

It is now the subject of a Planning Enforcement Order by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

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The Ulster Herald understands that the council is preparing legal action to ensure the removal of the statue because it does not have planning approval.

But local people and the Ancient Order of Hibernians have this week branded the council action as an ‘attack on the community and the Catholic faith.’

“No one should underestimate our resolve to defend this Mass Rock and Statue,” said Gerry McGeough, president of the
Tyrone Ancient Order of Hibernians.

“Last year we marched 600 Hibernians up to it as a show of support for our local Molly Maguire Division.

“We will mobilise hundreds more if need be in order to defend a sacred Catholic site.”

A spokesperson for Greencastle Community Voices said they were prepared to stage protests at the council’s offices and meetings to highlight their determination to ensure that the statue is retained.

They added, “The council should not under-estimate the determination of the people of Greencastle to highlight the inconsistencies in relation to their approach in this locality and protect a Mass Rock and statue which is an integral part of our Catholic faith and heritage.”

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Fermanagh and Omagh District Council confirmed that they have served a Planning Enforcement Order on the statue.

“The enforcement investigation is ongoing.

“At this stage it is not appropriate for the council to comment on the progress of any legal action for the failure to comply with the Notice,” said a council spokesperson.

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