Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Why I want bridge named after playwright

YOUR readers may be aware that the Connswater Community Greenway project has announced the shortlist to be chosen by popular vote for the naming of a new pedestrian bridge in Victoria Park.

I submitted the name of the Ballymacarrett-born playwright Sam Thompson, which I am pleased to say made the shortlist.

Voting on the naming of the new pedestrian bridge is open to all UK residents and voting must be completed by Wednesday, October 9, either online at www. communitygreenway.co.uk/NametheBridge, or by completing a form at a Name The Bridge centre.

These are: Avoniel Leisure Centre, East Belfast Partnership, Inverary Community Centre and Holywood Arches, Cregagh Road, and Woodstock Libraries.

I proposed Sam Thompson because he was born in Ballymacarrett and worked in the shipyard as a painter and in Belfast Corporation (now Belfast City Council).

He was a committed democratic socialist and political activist for the Northern Ireland Labour Party. His plays dealt with the taboo subjects of sectarianism, religious discrimination and electoral malpractice.

His best-known work, Over the Bridge (1960), staged amid great controversy, was seen then by more than 40,000 people in Belfast – the largest ever.

He died prematurely of a heart-attack at the age of 48 in February 1965. The epitaph on his gravestone reads: "His was the voice of many men."

CLLR CLAIRE HANNA (SDLP)

Belfast City Council