A Newton Stewart resident was bemused by the organisers of the Olympic Torch route to include Dublin, a city not in the United Kingdom, yet miss out the likes of Newton Stewart.
He contacted The Galloway Gazette after noticing the torch will travel over the border from Northern Ireland to Dublin tomorrow (Tuesday) and then go from the capital of the Irish Republic on Wednesday morning back up to Belfast, before it crossed back over the Irish Sea and arrives in Wigtownshire. It will be carried through the streets of Stranraer and Cairnryan on Friday morning before heading to South Ayrshire.
When this was pointed to local politicians they were diplomatic in their replies!
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “I would have dearly loved the torch to have spent longer in Galloway, but recognise that it might not have come here at all had it not been for the interventions of myself and others to make the case for including Galloway in the relay. The original route did not include Galloway at all, I am delighted that it has been changed and we should be proud that the torch’s first appearance in Scotland will be at Stranraer – the Gateway to Scotland. I am sure there will be a great crowd to see it off on the Scottish leg of the relay on Friday 8th, despite the early rise that will be involved!”
Galloway MP Russell Brown said: “I understand that people in Newton Stewart will be disappointed that the torch isn’t coming nearer to them. Being such a large geographical area, the torch can have several stops in Dumfries and Galloway but still be quite a distance to travel, especially when the visits are early in the morning. In an ideal world it would have gone right through the region, but the organisers had the unenviable task of trying to take it round as much of the country as possible in a short space of time. Our region has a special place in the torch relay route, as Dumfries and Galloway both welcomes the torch to Scotland and sends it on its way to the games. We’ve seen huge crowds and real excitement everywhere that the torch has been so far and I’m looking forward to seeing it up close in our region in just a few days time.”