Newry City Councillor, Cllr Roisin Mulgrew has said that a decision to not accept a motion at last night's meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council was a "Slap in the face" for those campaigning for a park at the Albert Basin in Newry.

The Motion made a call to assign funding for the Albert Basin park and to make the project the number one regeneration priority for Newry but Chairperson Cllr Laura Devlin said the motion couldn't be heard citing a standing order.

An artists impression of what the proposed Albert Basin Park could look like.

Speaking after the monthly meeting of the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Cllr. Mulgrew said “Tonight, we were prepared to debate and vote on a motion to recommit the Council to a city centre park for Newry – a project overwhelmingly supported by the people of Newry. Instead, we saw the SDLP Chair of Council refuse to accept the motion and instead give her party colleague a platform to make a party-political broadcast.”

Cllr Roisin Mulgrew

“This messing about is a slap in the face for the members of the community who have campaigned so diligently and relentlessly for the delivery of this park.”

Green lung for Newry

Cllr. Mulgrew continued “The Council has completed its public consultation on the park, the people have had their say and it’s clear that they want a top-of-the-range city centre park – a green lung for Newry. We have allocated considerable money already to ensure a decontamination report is done and a design team can be appointed. Sinn Féin is committed to ensuring the necessary funds are made available at each and every stage of this project.

“The development of a top-of-the-range city centre park is a priority for us in Sinn Féin, and for the people of this area. I hope that other representatives will work with us to deliver it to the highest standard possible, in the shortest time. This is what the people of Newry deserve.”

Cllr Mulgrew concluded “This is an exciting time for development in Newry. Progress is being made on key projects such as our park, our Civic Centre and the Southern Relief Road. These projects are essential if we are to grow and develop our city, as we move forward, after a difficult year. I want to thank, on behalf of the whole Sinn Féin team, Newry 2020 and other local community organisations for their commitment to this project and constructive engagement with Councillors, MLAs and our MPs. We hope that this will continue as we strive to deliver key projects for the people of Newry and surrounding areas.”

Content and timing of Motion inappropriate

In reply to a query from to the Chairperson, Cllr Laura Devlin  regarding the procedural reasoning behind the motion dismissal a Spokesperson said "The decision was based on the fact that the matter had been dealt with at the November SP&R meeting (ratified by full Council at last night's meeting) and that a recommendation had been approved to proceed with the project and to establish a board which would meet in January 2020 to move forward with the project.

Cllr Laura Devlin, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council.

"This is the standard way of dealing with major projects in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

"The minute of the item includes reference to the rationale for the Chairperson's decision being Para 16.1 (2) of Council's Standing Orders. In this regard it was considered that the content and timing of the motion was inappropriate on the grounds that full Council approval had been given on the appropriate vehicle to carry-forward progress on the subject matter of the item."

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