A man who started a petition to rebrand a street in Newry named after an Irish nationalist who supported slavery has accused the city council of "kicking the can down the road" by trying to avoid the controversy.
A statue of John Mitchel in the border city, where a street is also named after the Young Ireland movement leader, has been at the centre of controversy since US anti-racism protests began to target statues of historical figures who backed slavery.
Demonstrators in Bristol pulled down a statue of a wealthy businessman who worked as a slave trader.
In Northern Ireland several petitions have taken aim at Mitchel, who died in Newry in 1875. One calls on GAA clubs named after the Irish patriot to disown him and another calls for his statue to be removed.
Padraig Mac Cionnaith started a petition to have John Mitchel Place renamed.
In a statement yesterday, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said its equality and good relations reference group met on Friday to discuss the issue.
The council set up the group to discuss "politically sensitive and contentious issues to reach a common understanding, agreement and actions".
The local authority said it would aim to educate the public about Mitchel.
In a statement it said: "Following constructive discussion between elected members on the John Mitchel statue and John Mitchel Place, it was agreed that officers proceed to clarify responsibility for the John Mitchel statue, develop options for an education programme, identify the origins of John Mitchel Place and give consideration as to other potential issues in relation to slavery within the council area."
Mr Mac Cionnaith, whose petition has attracted almost 2,000 signatures, accused the council of avoiding the issues.
"I find the council's decision disappointing and a matter of kicking the can down the road rather than addressing the issues at stake now," he said.
"There has pretty much been unanimous condemnation and disgust at John Mitchel having a statue/street named after him in the first place.
"People were surprised at his past - it should not have taken me starting a petition for people to learn about his disgusting views.
"The argument of judging historical figures in the historical period they lived doesn't apply to Mitchel as he campaigned against abolitionism in slavery's dying days and was nothing short of a white supremacist.
"I was hoping the council would take a definitive action by beginning the procedures to rename John Mitchel Place and relocate the statue to the local museum.
"A plaque on the street or beside the statue won't send a message that Newry is a welcoming place for people of all colours and backgrounds, but renaming a street named in his honour and relocating his statue will."
An online petition calling for Mitchel's statue to be retained had just 51 signatures last night.
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis a month ago led to mass protests and anger in the US, and in the UK attention has focused on the commemoration of significant figures from Britain's history in the slave trade.
A statue of slave trader Edward Colston was torn down in Bristol and thrown into the harbour.
This is not Newry's first naming row. The former Newry and Mourne District Council named a park after Raymond McCreesh, an IRA man who died on hunger strike and who was linked to the Kingsmill massacre in which 10 Protestant workers were murdered.