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Brakes must be put on cemetery proposal if the future of prestigious Ulster Grand Prix is to be safeguarded

Following another memorable Ulster Grand Prix, I wish to voice my support, from the perspective of a frequent English visitor, as the importance of this great event cannot be overstated.

Firstly, well done to the hard-working Noel Johnston and team for ensuring the UGP remains the world's greatest, in addition to fastest, pure road race. Also to Leslie Moore and Road Racing Ireland for their excellent publicity, which also commendably extends to Olivers Mount in my native Yorkshire.

There is, quite simply, no sport on earth to equal road racing. The bravest, most skilful competitors, best behaved supporters and friendliest atmosphere - a healthy antidote to the narcissistic prima donnas and poisonous, aggressive "fans" often to be found in greed-driven Premier League football.

I, therefore, read with dismay of the frankly ridiculous proposal to site a cemetery beside the race circuit (of all places).

Is Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council really so short of space that no other viable options exist?

From my plane home, it did not appear that the area was almost entirely covered in concrete. I do wonder about the twin perils of what exactly goes on behind closed council doors and the ever-present wailings of what I call the "Ban crossing the road" brigade, whose sole pleasure in life seems to be denying others theirs.

One can see, from a country-mile off (given Sod's Law) the potential conflict should a death occur in the days preceding the UGP and an intransigent family insisting on a burial being held at the same time as the races.

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As Glenn Irwin wisely noted, why risk such a situation arising in the first place?

Do not be distracted by the "sweetener" that this would be a fitting burial ground for road-race supporters, either, as our interests are clearly not of paramount concern here.

Seriously, this is not an over-reaction. The UGP is of such sacred importance that any threat must be vociferously opposed. I call on all like-minded supporters to express themselves through the usual, peaceful channels of the media and their elected representatives.

We must always be on our guard, as there are always lunatics waiting to take over the asylum.

While nominally within the remit of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, be in no doubt that this issue is of significant national importance and nothing less.


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