THE DUP members of Craigavon Borough Council have issued a statement, insisting that the re-vamped Portadown People’s Park must lead to the ‘shared space’ for the entire community, “as is clearly outlined in the conditions of the European Union’s £6m offer”.
The joint statement is from Aldermen Sydney Anderson, Stephen Moutray, Gladys McCullough and Woolsey Smith and from Councillors Robert Smith, Carla Lockhart, Darryn Causby, Alan Carson and Mark Baxter. It said, “We took the decision at the Monday night council meeting to accept the letter of offer granting a £6 million spend in the Public Park in Portadown.
“It is an opportunity to improve and enhance an area that quite frankly is a hive of anti-social behaviour. Investment of this magnitude and nature is extremely hard to attract and we would commend all those involved in getting this project to this point. Our party has been supportive of the project to date and we are pleased that the wheels are now in motion to proceed.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Portadown has and continues on occasions to be fraught with division. Unfortunately this park for many years has not had an open gate to the Protestant/unionist community, but this has got to end. The park must be a place where people from any side of the community feel safe and secure.
“The DUP members are very clear that we will police this situation and ask those difficult questions, lobby for the community we represent and ultimately go hand-in-hand with the Protestant/unionist community back into Portadown Public Park to rightfully utilise a park/space that has been uninviting to us for many years.
“There will be challenges ahead, but we are unequivocal in our stance and firm in our belief that the park must be used by all sections of the community. The DUP will keep a watching brief on the development of this programme and will hold all elected representatives to their very clear commitment that this will be a genuine shared space, open door for the community that we represent”.