Northern Ireland news

DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly's Glider bus stop row – a timeline

DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly faced criticism for voicing "serious concerns" about the 'Short Strand' name for the east Belfast Glider bus stop
Brendan Hughes

DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly's lobbying about a bus stop emerged in July, but correspondence obtained by The Irish News reveals how the dispute began in December last year.

:: December 2017: In a handwritten letter to Translink, an east Belfast bus user proposes re-naming a city-bound Glider stop on Albertbridge Road as 'Albert Bridge' and retaining 'Short Strand' for the return journey stop.

:: January/February 2018: DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly's office phones Translink about the 'Short Strand' Glider halt.

:: February 9: Translink replies to Ms Pengelly by email, explaining that the 'Short Strand' name was "based on the existing halt names in the area" in order to "minimise confusion for passengers".

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"To that end, all inbound and outbound halts are 'paired' to ensure that the names are the same on both sides of the road," the official said.

:: July 23: DUP councillor George Dorrian emails Translink seeking a meeting with him and PUP councillor John Kyle, citing the "very real and genuine concerns with regards" to the bus stop's name.

:: July 26: A parliamentary assistant to Emma Little-Pengelly emails Department for Infrastructure (DfI) officials seeking a meeting on the "re-naming of Albertbridge halt to Short Strand", referring to the "sensitivities"

:: Late July: Ms Pengelly's letter to residents about the Glider stop emerges, in which the MP says she was contacted by a constituent and shared their concerns about the 'Short Strand' name as it "does not reflect either the area or the history of the area".

She says Translink's response has been "unsatisfactory", and "on the back of this we had contacted Gavin Robinson MP's office to request a joint meeting with Transport NI".

She says her team would be asking residents for their views and would start a petition to re-name the halt.

:: Late July: Following criticism online, Ms Pengelly insists it was "not a sectarian issue at all" and she was merely responding to a constituent's concerns.

:: August 14: In internal Translink emails, chief executive Chris Conway asks for details of correspondence from politicians relating to the Short Strand halt.

An official emails: "I haven't received any correspondence direct from MLAs on the matter. DfI did receive correspondence and replied offering to meet but it wasn't taken up.

"I also understand that Gavin Robinson has made it clear, as MP for the area, that he will not be pursuing it."

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