The shadow ‘super-council’ of Newry, Mourne and Down spent £30,000 of ratepayers money on coming up with a new name – and went for Newry, Mourne and Down!
The move has angered local Sinn Fein representatives who said the entire South Armagh area has been overlooked with the omission of ‘Gullion’ from the name.
Slieve Gullion area Councillor Terry Hearty has said the decision would be viewed by most living in the area as “a very deliberate snub”.
“All Sinn Féin elected representatives supported the Newry City, Mourne and Gullion proposal,” he said. “We felt that this name reflected the entire region that we serve and also gives recognition to Newry as the principal city. There is neither ryhme nor reason as to why, in particular, the SDLP have deliberately snubbed our area.”
His colleague, Cllr Barra Ó Muirí, commenting on what he described as a “disgraceful decision”, added: “Those who live here, work here, invested in and promoted this area are rightly angry. South Armagh has once again been cast aside.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Mickey Larkin said that questions about how £30,000 was spent to come up with a name – which was the name that already existed – would have to be asked.
He said: “This consultation exercise now seems a complete and utter waste of ratepayers’ money.
“From the outset it had been agreed that the one name that wouldn’t be put forward was the name given to the shadow council, Newry Mourne & Down, the name that now has had been chosen by the majority SDLP and Unionist bloc.”
South Armagh Cllr Roisin Mulgrew voiced her anger also.
“Throughout all workshops it was recognised that investment in tourism was the most realistic way to generate employment and investment,” she said.
“Gullion has been a success story in terms of tourism and our name included the two areas of outstanding beauty which the new council hoped to build on.
“The exclusion of an entire region of this new council area has detached and isolated many who day and daily are working to ensure its wellbeing and sustainability.”
The new super-council is one of 11 which will replace the 26 present local authorities in April.