FERMANAGH District Council has reinstated a plaque to IRA Hunger Striker Bobby Sands in Rosslea as part of a major overhaul in the village worth £66,000.

The Council’s environmental improvement scheme to enhance the appearance of Rosslea is all part of its ‘action plan’ to deliver projects to 12 towns and villages throughout the county.

The project in the village includes replacing brick paviors with flagstones, upgrading the steps, replacing brick walls with stone clad walls, providing flower beds and upgrading seating and bins.

But the decision to reinstate the memorial to former Fermanagh-south Tyrone MP Bobby Sands on a new stone clad wall -- costing £134 -- has been condemned by Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott.

“My assertion that Fermanagh District Council is becoming a cold house for Unionists is being copper fastened virtually on a weekly basis. Bobby Sands was a member of an organisation that was responsible for the murder of almost 2,000 members of our society, many of the murders were brutal and involved torture of their victims,” he said.

Funding for the Rosslea project, along with the other schemes in the county, has been provided through the South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD) and is available at a rate of 75 per cent, with a 25 per cent match funding by the Council.

Mr Elliott, a Fermanagh-south Tyrone MLA and former councillor, says the Council now have “huge questions” to answer.

“How did the Council facilitate and obviously approve the work of having this plaque to a terrorist in their project? Will SWARD be content to fund this entire project, which of course includes not only Rosslea but another 11 towns and villages throughout Fermanagh?” “I have raised a number of issues with the Council over recent months about their direction and move away from being a neutral environment to embracing a pro-republican agenda and being an uncomfortable place for Unionism,” he added.

The improvements to the village square at the junction of Main Street and Church Street where the new wall has been built and the plaque reinstated is in an area not owned by the Council and is costing £33,000.

Brendan Hegarty, the chief executive of Fermanagh District Council, said the Council would not be claiming grant money for reinstating the plaque -- first erected in 2006 -- to Bobby Sands.

Mr Hegarty told The Impartial Reporter: “Whilst the Council and SWARD approved funding for the village enhancement schemes they would not be aware of the itemised details of the schemes.

“The Council will not be claiming grant from SWARD for the cost of reinstating the plaque,” he said.