Name change proposal sparks heated debate

Cloonavin
Cloonavin

A proposal to change the new of the Causeway Coast and Glens District Council sparked a heated debate last week.

DUP councillor Sam Cole proposed that the name be shortened to ‘Causeway Borough Council’ at Thursday night’s council meeting.

However, this drew mixed reaction from the different parties and councillors.

Independent councillor Padraig McShane said the proposal was an ‘identity crisis’.

“This is a world renowned brand, why would you want to remove the Glens from it?” he asked.

“Why not call it the Glens Council if you want to shorten it, or is this about trying to remove nationalists from it?”

Sinn Fein’s Philip McGuigan labelled the proposal ‘ludicrous’.

“We have had the name for almost a year now, if it were to change now would it not have a cost implication as domain names, IT systems and literature would all have to be changed,” he said.

His Sinn Fein colleague, Sean McGlinchey, accused Cllr Cole of being ‘disingenuous’.

“This Council has been working very well together so I can’t understand why this has been brought up, it is a bad start to the first AGM,” he said.

Sinn Fein’s Cara McShane said she hoped this would be the last of this sort of issue.

“The last 10 months have been so positive, let’s keep the momentum going,” she said.

Ulster Unionist Councillor Joan Baird said everyone should be very proud of the Glens name.

“This is a very important area for us all and one of the most beautiful areas in the world,” she said.

DUP councillor Ian Stevenson backed his party colleague’s proposal. “I don’t see any areas belonging to anyone,” he said.

“As far as not having an area in the name Ballymoney is not mentioned and it is not in the Causeway area.

“In fact if we want to be accurate perhaps the name should be Causeway Coast, Glens, Dark Hedges and Binevenagh Council.”

DUP councillor George Duddy said the proposal about the name change wasn’t about ‘divisiveness’.

“No one part of the borough belongs to one community, it belongs to everyone,” he said.

During the debate SDLP councillor Stephanie Quigley left the chamber for a short period of time after the chair, Cllr John Finlay, pointed his finger at her after she had asked the Chief Executive what he would like to see the council be called.

Cllr Finlay said he felt it was an ‘unfair question’ but he apologised for upsetting Cllr Quigley.

A recorded vote was taken on the proposal with 12 voting in favour of Cllr Cole’s proposal, 24 voting against and three abstaining.