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Long welcomes naming of new leisure centre

Alliance Councillor Michael Long has welcomed the decision to name the new East Belfast leisure centre Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre.

After a DUP proposal to keep the location's name as the Robinson Centre was defeated at today's Belfast City Council Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, Alliance proposed an immediate renaming, going against Sinn Féin's proposal to send the name out to public consultation. The suggested name Lisnasharragh was subsequently backed. An additional Alliance proposal to name the adjacent building the Clonduff Community Centre was also supported.

"Alliance has always opposed the Peter Robinson vanity projects in the old Castlereagh Council, however it is strange other parties waited until we are in the mouth of a local government election to speak up and take action on this particular centre," said Councillor Long.

"We opposed sending the options for a new name out to public consultation in order to avoid controversy like we have seen from Sinn Féin and the SDLP in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council over the naming of a playpark there. The name Lisnasharragh reflects the geographical location, as well as the Belfast City Council District Electoral Area the centre is situated in, so it is perfect.

"While the new centre should be seen as welcoming for everyone across our city, the issue around the naming should not deflect from the fact the bigger issue is local ratepayers have been left without decent leisure facilities for several years, something which Alliance also sought to address through the provision of temporary facilities, unsuccessfully due to opposition from Sinn Féin, the SDLP, DUP and UUP."