Commenting after Causeway Borough Council approved community grant scheme funding, DUP East Antrim MLA Gordon Lyons said the UUP’s position on this was in marked contrast to the feeling amongst the Unionist community.
DUP MLA Gordon Lyons said, “It is hardly surprising that support came from all of the republican and nationalist representatives for this project, however the UUP have shown that they are not in touch with the electorate. To have gates in place on a space which should be inclusive for all is deeply offensive.
“The UUP were up in arms about a park in Newry being named after an IRA member but the majority voted in favour for it here. It stinks of hypocrisy from the UUP.”
“However this was not just an issue of a gates which bore the names of two IRA men, this was also an issue in which one community group was elevated and allowed to apply for funding ahead of other community groups.”
He added, “We are not prepared to let the past be re-written and we do not condone a normalisation of terrorism. Terrorism whether it happens now or in the past is still terrorism and to expect one side of the community to accept any different is highly offensive and hurtful.”
DUP Coleraine Councillor Trevor Clarke noted that last night’s decision to approve funding was voted, 19 for and 18 against and included the support of six UUP councillors.
He explained, “The DUP party group was disappointed at the outcome of the votes. Elevating an application from one group ahead of all others was unfair and unjust to every other community group and interested party in the Borough. Approving a flawed funding policy was a reckless decision, with no protection for the ratepayer in the event of any subsequent project failure.
“We were, however, absolutely astonished that the majority of Ulster Unionist councillors saw fit to endorse proposals to fund a scheme on grounds named after IRA terrorists.
“Terrorism is an evil that has destroyed tens of thousands of lives here in different phases over the last century and should not have a place in our society.”