Newry, Mourne and Down Council Approves 'Ireland's True Nature' Tourism Branding Despite Unionist Objections

Newry, Mourne and Down council approves "Ireland's True Nature" tourism branding despite DUP and UUP objections. The branding aims to promote the district and attract international tourists as part of its five-year Tourism Strategy and Action Plan.

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Nitish Verma
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Newry, Mourne and Down Council Approves 'Ireland's True Nature' Tourism Branding Despite Unionist Objections

Newry, Mourne and Down Council Approves 'Ireland's True Nature' Tourism Branding Despite Unionist Objections

The Newry, Mourne and Down council has divisive, using, term, approved, despite objections from DUP and UUP members. The council's decision was made despite unionist concerns that the branding is "divisive" and "politically charged," and that it ignores the Ulster Scots community.

Why this matters: This controversy highlights the ongoing tensions and identity politics in Northern Ireland, where symbols and branding can have significant implications for community relations and national identity. The outcome of this decision may set a precedent for future branding and tourism initiatives in the region, influencing how Northern Ireland presents itself to the world.

DUP councillor Callum Bowsie expressed his party's opposition to the branding, stating, "We believe this tourism strategy lacks cross-community support, is politically charged and does not create the best promotion of our district... Would nationalists be content with the strapline, the 'UK's True Nature'? Not only is 'Ireland's True Nature' a divisive strategy, it is a weak one too."

However, Sinn Fein councillor Oonagh Hanlon defended the branding, noting that it had been market tested and was not solely decided by councillors. "This was put out to market testing, it was not just up to councillors to decide. There were three or four different ideas put out... We have now got to this point and you are going to try to completely up-end it and have to go back to the start again."

UUP representative David Taylor argued that the strategy should have included "a greater promotion of Ulster Scots heritage rather than a 'foot-note'" to generate more interest from the American market. SDLP councillor Laura Devlin acknowledged the DUP's concerns but emphasized the extensive work and market testing that had gone into developing the branding to attract more international tourists.

The "Ireland's True Nature" branding was ultimately approved by a majority vote at the council meeting last week, despite a rejected amendment from DUP councillor Callum Bowsie to change the branding. The council aims to use the branding to promote the Newry, Mourne and Down district and gain more tourists from the international market as part of its five-year Tourism Strategy and Action Plan.

Key Takeaways

  • Newry, Mourne and Down council approves "Ireland's True Nature" tourism branding despite unionist objections.
  • DUP and UUP members oppose branding, citing it as "divisive" and "politically charged."
  • Sinn Fein councillor defends branding, citing market testing and cross-community support.
  • UUP representative argues for greater promotion of Ulster Scots heritage.
  • Council aims to attract international tourists with new branding as part of 5-year Tourism Strategy.