An at times hot and heavy monthly meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council tonight saw a motion proposing a 15 Acre Park at the council maintained Albert Basin site in Newry be referred to the SP&R committee of the council by Chairperson Cllr Roisin Mulgrew, despite an attempt by a councillor to have standing orders suspended and the motion debated in the chamber.

Under standing orders, the chairperson has the right to refer a motion to a relevant committee and councillors are not allowed to challenge.

Campaigners seeking a 15 Acre Public Park at the Albert Basin in Newry bring a petition with 11,000 signatures to the October meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council at Downpatrick. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Campaigners seeking a 15 Acre Public Park at the Albert Basin in Newry bring a petition with 11,000 signatures to the October meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council at Downpatrick. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The motion put forward by Councillors Patrick Brown, Gary Stokes, David Taylor and Jarlath Tinnelly called for the council delivery of a park in parallel with other capital works projects in Newry within the next Council term.

When the agenda item came up Alliance Councillor Patrick Brown was asked to read the motion and quickly requested an amendment to the motion.

Meanwhile SDLP Cllr Pete Byrne put forward a proposal to have standing orders suspended for the motion in question. It was some time before this was agreed and an open vote was taken on that proposal.

Campaigners present a petition with 11,000 signatures requesting a 15 Acre Public Park at the Albert Basin in Newry to Cllr Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council and Council Chief Executive, Liam Hannaway.  Included from left are Aoife Hollywood, Oliver McGauley, Cllr Mulgrew, Mr Hannaway; Brian Cleland, Chairman, Newry 2020; Caiden Meaney Bradley, Sarah Meaney and Peter Maxwell.  Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Campaigners present a petition with 11,000 signatures requesting a 15 Acre Public Park at the Albert Basin in Newry to Cllr Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council and Council Chief Executive, Liam Hannaway. Included from left are Aoife Hollywood, Oliver McGauley, Cllr Mulgrew, Mr Hannaway; Brian Cleland, Chairman, Newry 2020; Caiden Meaney Bradley, Sarah Meaney and Peter Maxwell. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Suspension of standing orders could have meant all councillors would have been free to debate the motion in the chamber and take a vote.

22 SDLP, Alliance, UUP. and Independent councillors voted for the proposal but with 13 DUP and Sinn Fein Councillors voting against, the required 80% necessary for the proposal to pass was lost.