A DUP councillor has been left “baffled” after his motion for a memorial to a Co Down man lost on the Titanic was sent for committee scrutiny.
Crossgar native, James McGrady (27) – who was a Catholic saloon steward on the fateful ship – perished when it sank on April 15, 1912.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s chairperson Michael Savage (SDLP) sent the motion to be debated in the equality and good relations committee.
Rowallane DUP councillor, Callum Bowsie said: “I am baffled why this is a matter has to go to equality, but anyway.”
His motion read: “This council recognises the significance of the Titanic’s legacy, the public interest in the tragedy and the importance of remembering the local lives that were lost on it.
“The motion tasks the council to prepare a report with the view to installing a memorial to Crossgar’s Titanic victim, James McGrady in a public space in Crossgar and recommends liaising with a maritime historian and the council’s heritage officer to ensure this memorial is accurate and befitting to this Titanic worker. ”
Mr McGrady’s body was recovered, around 25 May 1912 by the steamship Algerine.
The body was transferred to the Florizel and returned to Halifax, Nova Scotia on 11 June 1912, and was buried along with other Titanic victims at Fairview Lawn Cemetery.
NMDDC chairperson Councillor Savage, clarifying his position following the council meeting, added: “I sent the motion to be considered at committee as all similar memorials are, including that of Newry football legend Pat Jennings which had received cross party support.
“This is done so that when the motion comes back to full council all of the minutiae around it has already been discussed.”