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Ormeau Park for all people

Published 04/08/2009

Bob Stoker has spoken of his desire to see a stadium built on Ormeau Park.

He clearly places little value on freely available green space for the people of the city.

His attitude illustrates how far the fellow feeling of some of today’s politicians has disappeared.

At the opening of Ormeau Park in April 1871, the Mayor, Philip Johnston, spoke of a “People’s Park”. He believed that there was “no more commendable expenditure of money, next to education, than to provide healthy recreation for the people”.

Ormeau Park would be, he stated, “peculiarly beneficial to those who were deprived of the privileges of wealth”.

The public spirit and high-mindedness of 1871 is in stark contrast to the attitude of today’s city fathers.

One can be certain that a stadium at Ormeau Park would replicate the Odyssey complex, and be another grim commer

cial venture that will entirely exclude those citizens of the city without the “privileges of wealth”.

Diarmuid Kennedy

Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

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