The name of the new ‘ABC’ (Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon) so-called super council will be known within the next few weeks, with Armagh members pressing hard to retain the name of the primatial city in the title.
The current favourites are ‘Armagh City and Bann Council’ and ‘Armagh City and Upper Bann Council’, with all 41 councillors keen to have Armagh’s current ‘Lord Mayor’ honour retained when the group gains its full powers next April.
Armagh City was granted Lord Mayoral status three years ago with DUP’s Freda Donnelly the first incumbent, followed by SDLP’s Sharon Haughey-Grimley, Robert Turner (UUP) and the current leader, Sinn Fein’s Cathy Rafferty.
Armagh was one of the first councils of the 26 in Northern Ireland to embrace the D’Hondt method of sharing out top posts. And with D’Hondt imposed on all 11 of the new ‘shadow’ councils, all has been calm with ABC deliberations. DUP’s Darryn Causby (Craigavon) was elevated to the chair, and that same party will inherit the Lord Mayoral title next year, provided it continues.
That’s why the Armagh councillors want the city’s name retained in the new title. The name must be agreed upon soon so that logos, the corporate image and the official stationery can be determined and designed.
One new councillor even suggested ‘Orange County’ as the name, with the premise that the Orange Order was formed in the area and that Armagh GAA team played in that colour.
But it was deemed too political as well. And it excluded Banbridge, plus the small section of Lagan Valley included in ABC.