Following Nigel Dodds’ letter attacking me and the UUP (Newtownabbey Times, February 27), several people in Glengormley said to me that they were surprised at the language used.
They felt that my original letter, congratulating the council’s senior management team and confirming that if the DUP-supported Peace and Reconciliation Centre at the Maze had went ahead then there would have been no money for the Valley Park scheme, must have hit a raw nerve.
Of course I wasn’t surprised because Nigel rightly knows that it was a mistake of monumental proportions to campaign with Sinn Fein for a project at the Maze for what would most certainly have caused massive hurt to victims and survivors of the troubles from all sides.
However, the part of the reply which focused (again) on the DUP being more responsible than other political parties in delivering the Valley Park project simply does not match up with the facts.
I am sure after their Maze u-turn they had meetings with the Special EU Programmes Body and council officers in support of the Valley project. So did myself and my Ulster Unionist colleagues, including Jim Nicholson MEP. However, as I stated in my original letter, the credit for this shared space development simply does not belong to any political party.
Newtownabbey Council officers submitted this application in 2009 and, when scored it had reached the 65 per cent threshold for funding.
Due to the Maze project no funding was available. We were then asked in late 2013 if the Valley project was “shovel ready” and it was. All of this information was confirmed at a meeting about the Valley project last week in the Mill.
Are the DUP now saying that they prepared the Valley Park project submission, instead of council officers? Or is this just an example of trying to claim the credit for other people’s hard work?
Cllr Mark Cosgrove