The DUP have vowed to continue their fight to name a community garden in West Street after Prince George, even though they’ve been advised their proposal doesn’t meet Royal criteria.
Council received a letter from the Northern Ireland Office explaining the proposal to name the community garden should be non-political and must have cross-party support.
It was also stated the proposal should not be contentious or impinge on anything or any subject that could bring the Royal family into disrepute or controversy.
DUP Alderman Gladys McCullough said, “I won’t be put off. We want to see that the necessary work that’s required to bring about the original proposal is carried out.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Gemma McKenna said that they should accept defeat given that the proposal doesn’t have the necessary cross community support, nor is it non-political as stated in the criteria explained by the Northern Ireland Office.
Addressing the DUP she added, “You’re trying to politicise an area which has the opportunity to become a shared space. It’s shameful to use a young boy’s name to do this.”
The SDLP’s Joe Nelson said, “To pursue this any further would be wasting officers’ time. It doesn’t have cross community support.”
The Northern Ireland Office advised that the use of a Royal name is granted very sparingly indeed, and should they wish to pursue the proposal the Cabinet Office would require a very detailed case of all appropriate information in relation to the request including Royal links to the area, and it should be accompanied by the support of community groups in the area.
A vote was taken as to whether to have officers carry out the necessary work to bring the proposal to the cabinet office.
Those in favour of pursuing the naming of the garden as ‘The Prince George Heritage Garden’ defeated the opposition by 15 votes to seven.
Mrs McCullough took exception to the fact Ms McKenna had referred to Prince George as a young boy and not a prince.
She added, “This was not a political name until it was made one by members of this council.
“With one face they condemn sectarianism but it’s okay to name a children’s play-park after a terrorist. They don’t want to name anything after something British. The only thing they’ll accept that’s British is welfare benefits.
“There’s been no change of heart since the 1960s and 70s. They’ve been put to the test and found wanting again.”