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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

The Braid set to be renamed in honour of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has backed a motion to rename The Braid in Ballymena in honour of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The motion was brought by Ballymena TUV Councillor Matthew Armstrong and seconded by party colleague Bannside Cllr Timothy Gaston to this month’s meeting of the local authority on Monday evening.

Cllr Armstrong proposed The Braid/town hall complex is renamed “The Queen Elizabeth II Civic Centre” and to invite His Majesty King Charles III to perform its rededication in his coronation year.

He said that it is “fitting and proper after an exemplary 70-year reign” that the council “takes steps to ensure an enduring legacy to Her late Majesty” and that generations to come are reminded of a monarch whose “longevity, commitment to her people, steadying  influence and leadership were and should remain a beacon of integrity, dignity and decorum to all not just in Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom but across the world.

“As Queen Elizabeth was a focal point in civic life globally, the building in which we sit this evening has very much been at the heart of civic life locally.

“This site has a long history. Indeed the clock turret of the original market house is considered one of the famous Seven Towers with which Ballymena is synonymous.

“From market house to town hall, from council headquarters to museum and arts complex, this corner of Bridge Street and Mill Street has been at the centre of this town and its civic life for centuries. It has long-standing royal connections too.

“The then Duke of York who went on to become King George VI laid the foundation stone of the new building in 1924 and King Charles III, then Prince of Wales, was at the official opening in 2008.

“What an honour it would be for Ballymena and the borough to  invite His Majesty back in his coronation year to conduct its reopening and rededication in his late mother’s memory some 70 years since Ballymena last hosted a reigning monarch in 1953.

“What a fine opportunity also it would be to commemorate the life of Queen Elizabeth II while also celebrating the new reign of King Charles III as we look back with fondness and gratitude but also forward with excitement and hope.

“The Queen Elizabeth II Civic Centre will continue to occupy the very heart of Ballymena town centre as it has for so many years but will now also stand testament to our late Majesty who occupied the hearts of so many of our citizens throughout her reign.”

Cllr Gaston said:

“I speak to second this fitting motion that will leave a legacy to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II  by renaming the Mid and East Antrim headquarters, the Queen Elizabeth II Civic Centre.

“The outpouring of great sadness when Her Majesty sadly passed was tantamount to the legacy and testimony she has left behind. This sadness was evident by the thousands of flowers and cards laid by citizens throughout Mid and East Antrim and throughout the Commonwealth.

“Her Majesty’s legacy is one that teaches us all how we should conduct ourselves in public office as she demonstrated to the highest of standards to which she diligently and effectively carried out each of  her duties throughout her glorious 70-year reign.

“We all have been elected to a position of trust and authority by our ratepayers. I challenge myself and endeavour to espouse to the same high standards that we grew accustomed to with Her Majesty and I trust each one of us do the same whilst holding office.

“We can take many learnings from the life of our late Majesty. I believe the renaming of The Braid would be a fitting tribute to her legacy and presents us all with an opportunity for this council to look forward and provide that beacon of hope for our citizens as Her Majesty has provided for us.”

Cllr Gaston went on to say that in preparation for the rededication of the Queen Elizabeth II Civic Centre, a portrait of His Majesty King Charles III will be unveiled in the council chamber.

Sinn Fein Councillors James McKeown, a Coast Road representative and Ian Friary, Bannside, voted against the motion.


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