‘Email campaign against new cemetery plan could be counterproductive’

LOCAL councillors are being bombarded with emails opposing the council’s controversial plan to use part of the Valley Park as a cemetery, it has been revealed.

There has been considerable opposition to the possible loss of a large section of the parkland at O’Neill Road should the local authority get the go-ahead for developing a graveyard at the site. But one local councillor says an email campaign by objectors could prove counterproductive.

Alliance councillor Tom Campbell, who has voiced his opposition to the possible siting of a new cemetery within the park near the Children’s Hospice, said elected representatives have been inundated with emails protesting against the cemetery plan - many from people in parts of Africa, Eastern Europe and other regions.

Claiming that councillors have been receiving several protest emails every day, Mr Campbell warned that such a campaign was unlikely to make any councillors sympathetic to the views of those opposing the cemetery plan.

“I know that the volume of these messages is causing annoyance, to put it very mildly,” he told the Times. “It (the email campaign) is clearly being organised by a local objector, but its objective is being seriously undermined by its volume and the fact that most of these objectors appear to come from areas that are far from our shores. Such tactics are only going to annoy councillors into hardening their stance.”

Newtownabbey Borough Council has tasked consultants to look into the possibility of developing an 18-acre cemetery within the Valley Park site.

Objectors have described the proposal as “morally wrong”, but the local authority has stressed that no final decisions have yet been made.