Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Newry facing break-up of identity under boundary shake-up

19 November, 2008 - by Mickey Brady

Sinn Féin Assembly member and Ballybot native, Mickey Brady has criticised the break up of Newry City in the proposed boundary changes for the new Newry City and Down Council.

Mr. Brady has said,

"The people of Newry take great pride in our town, we are Newrymen and Newywomen. Under these new proposals large areas of Newry will be broken off and placed into rural wards. It is as if Newry was a biscuit with large chunks just being torn off.

"Many people have described these proposals as reminiscent of the attempted name change from Ballybot to the Quays. People power won over the day then and I am confident it will do so again.

"I have received countless complaints at the Newry Sinn Féin office from residents, businesses and community groups who feel that their Newry identity is being taken from them. I have encouraged those people to write to the Boundary Commissioner requesting that Newry is kept as one metropolitan urban area rather than having different parts of it spread into wards in rural South Armagh and rural South Down.

"Sinn Féin is supporting those community activists who are lobbying for a review of these proposals. I personally delivered over 300 letters from concerned residents to the Boundary Commissioner and requested a face to face meeting with him in order to explain their concerns. I understand that around 1000 letters in total have been sent to the commission calling for a review.

"Presently Newry is divided for Westminster & Stormont elections, it is imperative that it is not divided at local Council level. If the proposed boundaries are enforced Newry residents will be governed by councillors whose politics would be of a rural nature rather than working for areas of common interest.

"No other large town in the North has been broken up in this manner, it should not happen here. Newry and Mourne District Council have submitted a legal document calling for changes also.

"There is no reason for these areas of Newry to be broken off. Sinn Féin has drawn up sensible suggestions which will keep the Newry entity and which is compliant with all of the boundary commission's guidelines. Our proposals will ensure that all the people of Newry benefit from our common urban interest.

"Furthermore, the names of these suggested wards needs to be seriously addressed as they do not reflect the historic identity of the areas that they cover. Of particular concern is the proposed 'Damolly' ward. The Boundary Commission has proposed that Derrybeg and the Meadows are titled Damolly even though the actual Damolly is a distinct and separate location." ENDS

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