New Council naming row

December 22, 2014

A row has erupted over the final shortlist of names proposed for the new Newry, Mourne and Down District Council which will take effect in April next year.

Councillors whittled down suggestions to a final list of three after considering a shortlist of five from external consultancy firm, McCadden Design, as well as proposals put forward by councillors during a council meeting last week.

The names being considered are Mourne Regional Council, Slieve Lough Council and South Down and South Armagh Council which was proposed by Sinn Fein.

Several Newry Councillors have expressed their concern at the omission of Newry in the new name, with Independent Councillor Davy Hyland branding it a “disgrace” that Newry is the only one of the five cities in the north that will not feature on the name of its district.

“Belfast, Derry, Armagh and Lisburn all feature in the names of their respective councils, yet Newry is nowhere to be seen,” said Mr Hyland adding that it was a “slur” on the people of Newry.

The councillor, who proposed the name Newry, Mourne and Gullion also expressed his concern that all important super council meetings will take place in Downpatrick with council offices in Newry used only for hosting small committee meetings.

The SDLP’s Kevin McAteer said he found it concerning that Newry has not been used anywhere in the shortlist and was “even more concerned that other local parties were happy to ignore Newry.” Mr McAteer said he would be “demanding” that Newry is included in the naming of the new council.

Sinn Fein Councillor Charlie Casey took to his facebook page to respond to “one of the SDLP councillors who sits on the new Shadow Council lambasting fellow councillors for excluding Newry from the title for the new Council.”  Mr Casey said the Corporate Branding Committee, of which the SDLP Councillor is a member,  “had discussions about what the name should be after receiving a report from a Consultancy Firm who were hired to carry out a consultation with the community and come back with various options.”

“A few names were short listed and a debate ensued as to what would be a likely alternative to the current name.

“At the end of the debate political parties were asked to break for a short time and come back with proposals. The councillor who is grandstanding in the paper was in agreement with his party’s proposal which was Slieve Lough.”

41 councillors who make up the new super council will vote for one of the three shortlisted names at a council meeting on January 6th.