A BOLD bid to name a Greenock street after former US President Barack Obama has ended in defeat.

The roadway which sits to the front of the Tail O’ The Bank pub was unnamed and councillors had been asked to give it the title of Virginia Street, as it is a continuation of the existing Virginia Street.

But they delayed the decision after council leader Stephen McCabe requested that the origins of the name be investigated.

He was concerned with its connotations to the slave trade.

Members of the environment and regeneration committee returned to the issue at a meeting on Thursday, with officials advising them that the street had indeed been named after the US state with which Greenock had connections through the sugar industry.

The confirmation of those controversial roots meant that alternative names were put forward.

Councillor McCabe said: “I think there is an argument to say that there is a link with slavery.

"I think we should choose something more akin to the progress made since then.

“I would be more comfortable with something like Barack Obama Street, after the former US President.

“If we decide on Virginia Street fine but I think there is an argument to celebrate progress made since then.”

Councillor Christopher Curley also made a proposal after carrying out some research.

He said: “I think it is important we acknowledge the connection and I looked into other historic links.

“I came across Frederick Douglass, who escaped the slave trade and spoke openly to crowds in Greenock on a few occasions.

“Given his links to Greenock it might be worthwhile naming this, or another street in Greenock, after him.

"It acknowledges slavery links but also the abolition.

“I propose we name it Frederick Douglass Street.”

Both names were supported by other councillors but when the matter went to a vote it was decided to name the street Virginia Street.

Nine councillors voted in favour of the title.