Row over proposal to name mini-park after Prince George

Pictured in the park are Mr David Power with sons Joshua (5) and Oscar (1), with the Happy Christmas statues.
Pictured in the park are Mr David Power with sons Joshua (5) and Oscar (1), with the Happy Christmas statues.

A proposal to name a mini-park in Portadown after Prince George has sparked a row at Craigavon Borough Council.

The park in question is at West Street where the acclaimed statues by Donegal sculptor Maurice Harron were erected earlier in the year.

Alderman Gladys McCullough proposed that it should be named Prince George Park in honour of the third in line to the British throne.

But nationalist members of the council opposed the move, especially when it turned out that the council did not actually own the park. Acting chief executive Robert Colvin pointed out it is in the ownership of the DRD which financed the statues in Portadown and Lurgan.

But, unfazed, Mrs McCullough and Councillor Darryn Causby came up with an amendment to consult with the DRD, with a view to naming it Prince George Park, and that an information board should be included about the history of the area.

Mrs McCullough said it could include the history of the former railway cleaning sheds, Ulster Laces, Denny’s and other aspects of the general area.

The ‘Ducks of Maralin’ also came into the equation. Councillor Tommy O’Connor asked whether the people of the area had been consulted. He cited the case of Maralin where the residents had been consulted about a display depicting the ducks and this was turned down.

This evoked a response of “Quack! Quack!” from DUP members. And Mr Causby said, “What have ducks got to do with it? Alderman McCullough and I know the West Street area well and there would be full support. We only found out tonight who owns the land, but the council is tasked with maintenance, so we must have a say.”

Councillor Joe Nelson said the name could be divisive - “DUP often say that people are living on the breadline, and to name it after a privileged 16-month-old royal prince would send out the wrong message.”

Councillor Gemma McKenna tabled an amendment that should be taken back to the relevant committee. But this was defeated and a counter amendment by Mr Causby, to consult with the DRD and the NIO, went through on a 13-8 recorded vote.

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