Councillors left in a state of confusion over new body’s name

Members of the new ABC (Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon) council are scratching their heads over the permanent name of the new set-up.

In order to retain the honour of Lord Mayor, which was bestowed to Armagh City Council three years ago, the name must contain the words ‘Armagh City’.

One councillor insisted that the name ‘ABC’ simply wasn’t on, as it gave the image of some sort of nursery school.

The councillor added that the original suggestion by the government commission was ‘Armagh City and Bann’, but claimed this did not adequately portray the Banbridge and Craigavon element, “and it’s going to be a tricky one to settle”.

All 41 of the new councillors are keen that the Lord Mayor status should be retained, and they have until April next year to settle on the name. Armagh’s first Lord Mayor was DUP’s Freda Donnelly, followed by Sharon Haughey (SDLP) and Robert Turner (UUP). The new incumbent is Sinn Fein’s Cathy Rafferty, with Armagh following the d’Hondt principles – which the ABC will have to emulate in the fresh set-up.

Craigavon DUP member Darryn Causby is the first chairman of the ‘shadow’ ABC council, and his party will provide the first Lord Mayor when full powers are transferred over next year.