Row over naming of Robinson Centre continues after vote

An artist's impression of the new �20m lesiure facility in east Belfast being built on the site of the previous 'Robinson Centre'
An artist's impression of the new �20m lesiure facility in east Belfast being built on the site of the previous 'Robinson Centre'

A political row over the Robinson Centre leisure facility in east Belfast has continued after the naming process became the subject of a public consultation.

Both Sinn Fein and the SDLP wish to remove the name of former DUP leader Peter Robinson (inset) from the facility following the £20 million rebuild that is currently underway.

A motion proposing the consultation on a new name was put forward by Sinn Fein councillor Charlene O’Hara and passed at Belfast City Council on Monday night.

Speaking on the BBC Talkback programme on Wednesday, DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst accused Sinn Fein of double standards – claiming Mr Robinson was a more suitable candidate to have a public building named after him than someone like Raymond McCreesh whose name was approved by Sinn Fein and the SDLP for a children’s playpark in Newry.

Mr Pankhurst said: “You have to take this in the context of the wider agenda of Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein sugar coats everything with ‘equality’ and ‘inclusivity’ and all of those buzzwords until they’re 50+1% in the majority and then it’s ‘Brits out.’”

He also said the naming consultation was irrelevant as this was a “regeneration” of the existing centre rather than a brand new facility.

In response, Councillor O’Hara described the double standards allegation as “nonsense” and added: “The current policy is quite clear.

“This is a new facility – it has to adhere to council policy, it’s as straightforward as that.”