Unionist legal challenge to Derry and Strabane super council name

Council crests of Strabane and Derry city council Image copyright DCC SDC
Image caption A rebranding exercise for the new district council is yet to be finished.

Unionist councillors are to contest the name of the Derry City and Strabane district council name through a new legal mechanism.

The name was officially agreed at a meeting of the shadow super council in October.

DUP councillor Gary Middleton said the decision "adversely affects a section of the community".

The legal challenge, known as a call-in procedure, will allow solicitors to review the motion.

'Railroad decisions'

Councillor Middleton stressed that the procedure is subject to a legal opinion.

"It will come back to us via the town clerks report, by that stage solicitors will have been involved and will have formed an opinion, which will be presented to us at council," he said.

"It would be wrong to assume anything, but regardless of the outcome the message that we want to send is that it's not going to be acceptable to railroad decisions through.

"This is a new council being formed and we had the perfect opportunity to try and get agreement around the name issue.

"Sinn Féin and the SDLP can no longer say they work on a cross party basis when they make these decisions without discussion."

Sinn Féin councillor Mickey Cooper said his party were focused on the name being representative of the council, not the city.

"This is very much based on the need to have 'city' included in the name, we wanted that reflected because we are actually a city and that brings a whole range of benefits in terms of branding and everything else," he said.

"This was a council motion so we were happy to discuss it with the DUP as much as they wanted beforehand.

"I don't think anyone should be surprised at our stance that the name should be Derry City and Strabane District Council."

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