Unionist members of the new ABC (Armagh Banbridge, Craigavon) Council have insisted that nationalists have “no chance” of having Craigavon excluded from the new title.
The move comes after Councillor Joe Nelson (SDLP) claimed the name had political connotations, with Craigavon being named after Lord Craigavon, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
Nationalists opposed Craigavon’s bid to become a city at the turn of the millennium and Mr Nelson insisted the unionists had only themselves to blame.
The two main unionist parties are united that ‘Craigavon’ must be included in the title, with labels like ‘Craigavon, Banbridge and Armagh’ City Council and ‘ABC’ being suggested.
Alderman Carla Lockhart (DUP) said, “Not only does Craigavon have the biggest population in the new set-up with 93,000 people, but it is the industrial nerve centre of the council, with industrial giants like Moy Park, Almac and Irwin’s Bakery. It would be nonsense to exclude it.”
Alderman Arnold Hatch commented, “This is just revenge from SDLP whose history in promoting Northern Ireland is chequered to say the least. When you realise the some nationalists, especially Sinn Fein, can’t even speak the name of the country, they are being hypocritical in the extreme.
“All unionists have agreed that Craigavon will be in the name. Nationalists are in the minority – the figures are 27-14 in favour of unionists in ABC.”