Why can’t local authorities be allowed to make their own decisions?

Derry has its Craigavon Bridge, so why can’t Strabane have its Ivan Barr Bridge? Or, is it OK to have bridges named after unionist figures but not after nationalist figures?

Craigavon Bridge was named after James Craig, the millionaire son of a whiskey distiller, the first Northern Prime Minister and later ‘Lord Craigavon’. And, Castlereagh has its Robinson Centre named after Peter Robinson. Why do unionists feel the need to boss nationalists and republicans?

Doesn’t that reflect a deeply atavistic instinct? They hanker after the days when they were the only king of ‘their’ wee castle. In this case DUP Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey is calling the shots. Writing about Peter Robinson’s posturing, Brian Feeney wrote, “…he needs to feel in control of republicans, to be in charge, laying down the law, not bound by any constraints that apply to normal relationships. In short to be superior.”

That’s it, although often his trying to appear superior is just posturing, to appeal to the popular unionist psyche.

Why can’t Derry and Strabane Council decide what to call their bridge? Instead, Minister Storey has vetoed calling it after Ivan Barr.

He is threatening to withdraw funding unless the council come up with an alternative.

At times Mr Barr was a contentious figure but he gave a lifetime of public service so the council’s decision is appropriate.

How this will be affected by the ‘crisis’ at Stormont is anybody’s guess.