Sinn Féin Councillor Philip McGuigan says that Unionist Councillors have yet again lost the opportunity to represent all citizens in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area and chosen instead narrow sectarian and election interests.
Councillor McGuigan made the comments after submitting a Sinn Féin challenge to the Council Chief Executive to the decision to fund a number of groups organising Battle of the Somme events but not fund groups planning events to remember the 1916 Easter Rising and other events in this decade of important Centenaries.
Councillor McGuigan said:
“This is the third instance in a short space of time that Sinn Féin have had to initiate a challenge to decisions taken by Unionist Councillors on the Council. This decision like the others could quite easily have been dealt with on the basis of fairness, recognising that citizens in this Borough have diverse political and historical opinions. Instead Unionist have decided to fund £40k to a small number of groups solely dealing with the Battle of the Somme.
“They overturned a previous decision that would have allowed all groups within the Borough wishing to organise events the opportunity to apply for funding on an equal basis and with proper criteria attached to the process.
“Sinn Fein have confidently challenged this on the basis of improper process and on the basis that the decision will disproportionately affect adversely the Nationalist and Republican community in the Borough and we certainly think that any of these groups could easily challenge this decision.
“Unionist Councilors, particularly from Coleraine and Ballymoney need to quickly realize that this Council isn’t just about them or their interests. It is clear that a lot of the decisions taken are about the upcoming elections and the battle within Unionism. It is a sad fact that they seem to think that the worse they treat the Nationalist and Republican community the more votes they feel they will get. Sinn Féin want to work and are prepared to work with all elected representatives to provide properly for all our citizens. What we aren’t prepared to do is allow Unionists to drag the Council back to 1690.