Alliance Councillor Geraldine Rice has hailed the decision to reverse a Castlereagh Council recommendation to close the Robinson Centre as a victory for people power.
Cllr Rice said the U-turn had completely vindicated Alliance’s decision to oppose the closure, a crisis that had been brought about through the mismanagement of rates over many years by the DUP-controlled council.
Cllr Rice said: “Today was sink or swim day for the Robinson Centre. This embarrassing climb-down from the original decision taken by unionists on the council is down to strong opposition from Alliance, ratepayers, council employees, leisure centre users, parents and children.”
“The decision to keep the Robinson Centre open until plans for a new facility are put in place was always the common sense proposal. Finally the DUP and UUP have seen the light. Alliance’s position has been totally vindicated by this reversal by the Unionist parties.”
Cllr. Michael Long added: “Alliance has been arguing for years that setting rates based on political expediency rather than the needs of the people was a recipe for crisis.”
“Failure by the unionists to change their minds would have resulted in a massive cut in services and many staff losses. A long-term strategy would have seen the Robinson Centre replaced years ago and contrary to allegations made by the DUP, Alliance’s plans would have led to faster upgrading of facilities.”
“Tonight we have seen a victory for people power.”