Having recently divested themselves of several tens of thousands of catholic residents under the terms of the new super councils Lisburn was giddy with the prospect of, once again, asserting itself a city not “For everyone” as their blurb says, but for a predominantly protestant population.
The ink had hardly dried on the new borough and district council maps when Lisburn rather hastily, and questionably, rebranded itself “Lisburn and Castlereagh city”. New welcome signs were erected at city boundaries proclaiming “Welcome to Lisburn and Castlereagh city”.
This, quite understandably, caused some raised eyebrows and questions to be asked.
According to an unnamed spokeswoman for the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council speaking with the Irish News the position was that “Leading up to local government reform, Local Government (Transitional, Incidental and Consequential and Supplemental Provisions) Regulations (NI) 2015 allowed new councils, of which Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is one, to take decisions in relation to charters, status and names. As per the regulations the legislation permitted the application of the borough charter to all of the new area, incorporating part of Castlereagh”.
The problem with this statement is that it doesn’t appear to be true. Nowhere in that particular legislation is a right conferred to change the name of a city. The legislation is specific to councils and boroughs, not cities.
Clearly, from their answer, transportNI are of the opinion that there is no city called “Lisburn and Castlereagh city” for they continue to treat them as two separate entities.
Hopefully Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council will reply in a full, honest and transparent manner otherwise people might conclude that this renaming is in effect a celebration of what amounts to little more than religious ethnic cleansing where having offloaded a very considerable number of their catholic residents (almost 21% of Lisburn’s total population) and in the course of doing so acquiring 62% of a borough council consisting of almost 68% protestant residents they are seeking to reassert some sort of sectarian or puritanical garrison town “We don’t want a fenian about the place” mentality.
It’s sad in this day and age that we apparently still have to endure this type of blatant sectarian bigotry.