20 May 2005

An Phoblacht

Lisburn remains citadel of sectarianism

19 May 2005

Wednesday's AGM of Lisburn Council, which has a record of excluding nationalists, saw the majority DUP combine with the Alliance Party to exclude Sinn Féin again from any of the committee chair or vice chair positions. The DUP's Paul Craig is mayor and Alliance's Trevor Lunn deputy mayor.

SDLP member Patricia Lewesley, in a personal deal struck with the unionist parties, was given the chair of the environmental services committee.

Sinn Féin will now call on the British government to appoint an administrator to run Lisburn council. "The Irish Government will also be asked to back our proposals and to push the British on this issue," said Paul Butler.

"Jeffrey Donaldson led the DUP into Lisburn council with the sole intention of turning the council into a unionist fiefdom dominated by the DUP," said Butler.

Sinn Féin's four members have just two committee positions between them after the sectarian carve up.

"We will now be calling on the British government to appoint an administrator to run the council until they bring in legislation that makes it binding on councils like Lisburn to have in place power sharing arrangements and other checks and balances to curb discrimination in relation to council services and facilities," said Butler. "The Irish government should also raise this with the British Government and call for legislation to bring about power sharing in local government."

"Lisburn council has been a bastion of unionist discrimination in the North. Nationalists living in Lisburn have experienced at first hand how they have put that discrimination into practice. The British Government need to step in and take control of Lisburn Council out of the hands of unionists.

"News that Tony Blair gave the DUP time to consider whether they accept the need to share power with nationalists and republicans was tantamount to giving the DUP a stallers' charter. It does not augur well when Tony Blair is giving the DUP an option on power sharing. The British Government, along with the Irish Government, should be unequivocal about the need for power sharing as envisaged under the Good Friday Agreement."

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