A proposal to rename the Brandywell the ‘The Ryan McBride Stadium’ will go out to consultation next month if Derry City & Strabane District Council green lights the move later this month and the name change will require a two thirds majority to go through.
The Council’s Governance & Strategic Planning Committee has already approved a recommendation that will allow the people of Derry to decide whether or not the hallowed ground should be named after the late Derry City captain.
The 40 members of the local authority will have the ultimate say, however, when the Council meets in the Guildhall at the end of March, ten days after the Brandywell hero’s first anniversary.
If approved, the consultation will open on April 9, running for 12 weeks until July 1.
Public notices will be placed in several local media outlets includng the ‘Derry Journal’ and the ‘Londonderry Sentinel’, all of which will be blitzed by Council press releases as part of a wide opinion-gauging exercise. A dedicated website, an electronic magazine, an online survey and leaflet drops in the Brandywell and in areas of heavy footfall in the wider Council area will also be used to garner public opinion.
Roadshows will be held in the Foyleside, Richmond and Lisnagelvin shopping centres, and parish bulletins will be placed in the Long Tower and St. Eugene’s, and other neighbouring churches.
Social media, of course, will be an important tool as the Council attempts to raise public awareness about the name change proposal.
The entire process is expected to cost around £4,000 and will require at least 500 respondents to be deemed legitimate. Ultimately, if a two thirds majority has been exceeded when the consultation closes on July 1 the new Brandywell will be officially named the ‘The Ryan McBride Stadium’ later this year.
The development follows the establishment of a working group late last year to engage widely with the general public over a proposal, by the late centre half’s aunt and local Sinn Féin councillor, Patricia Logue, for the ground to be named in Ryan’s honour.
Over the past month-and-a-half the Council’s Lead Democratic Services officer, Ellen Cavanagh, and its Equality officer, Kay McIvor, facilitated six meetings with the working group, comprising Colr. Logue, the SDLP’s Martin Reilly, the DUP’s Hilary McClintock, the UUP’s Derek Hussey, and Independent Sean Carr, ahead of this week’s development.
The proposal to move to the consultation phase was unaimously backed by the G&SP committee.