FORMER DUP leader Peter Robinson has said calls to remove his name from a leisure centre in his former constituency reflect efforts “to eliminate every vestige of unionism in Northern Ireland”.
While the party has still not responded to The Irish News about the petition calling for the name change at the Montgomery Road facility, the former East Belfast MP released a statement to BBC’s Nolan Show.
“The naming of the centre was undertaken by Castlereagh Borough Council,” he said.
“I consider it to be an honour, but I am aware there are those who want to eliminate every vestige of unionism in Northern Ireland.”
SDLP activist Séamas de Faoite has started a petition calling for the name to be changed following the council’s investment of “£20 million of ratepayers’ money in a new state-of-the-art aquatics centre”
Meanwhile, at Monday’s meeting of Belfast City Council, Sinn Féin will table a motion to formally request a name change.
Councillor Charlene O’Hara, seconded by colleague Órla Nic Biorna, is asking the council to “agree that this facility be renamed in accordance with council policy. The naming of any council facility must be inclusive and welcoming to all.
“The previous centre on this land was named “The Robinson Centre” and was within the Castlereagh Borough Council area… This is a new facility and must come under existing council policy.
Belfast City Council’s policy is that a person must be dead for at least five years before any park or leisure facility can be named after them.