Sinn Fein bid to light up Craigmore Viaduct for Pride festival is voted down
An attempt to have one of the most spectacular railway bridges in Northern Ireland lit up in support of the gay community has been voted down.
The Craigmore Viaduct consists of 18 arches visible from across Newry and south Armagh and transports trains across the mountainous border region.
Sinn Fein councillors in Newry proposed having the arches lit up in the colours of the rainbow for the Newry Pride Festival on August 30.
That would have cost around £3,500, or there was a second option to invest £56,000 in a permanent lighting system.
The proposal was lost by just one vote when the SDLP and unionist councillors voted against it, leaving the final vote at 12-11. One independent councillor abstained.
Sinn Féin councillor Liz Kimmins blasted the parties who voted against it – the SDLP, UUP and Ukip – as "living in the Dark Ages".
She said the council had approved the illumination of the Craigmore Viaduct before to celebrate significant dates or highlight issues.
"Now narrow-minded political interests on the council have opposed the proposal, claiming that it is suddenly too expensive," she said.
"By refusing to support illuminating the viaduct these reactionary elements are living in the dark ages."
However, SDLP councillor Michael Carr said his party was fully supportive of gay rights.
He said £3,500 was too much to pay for a one-off event, but if a good-value permanent lighting system can be found, it could be used to light up the viaduct for a range of events.