Unionists on Lisburn City Council have again engaged in systematic discrimination after nationalists were excluded from all senior positions on the council.
The sectarian reputation of the infamous council has worsened following the the election of DUP and Ulster Unionists to all the top positions yesterday.
“The message to nationalists and republicans in Lisburn is very clear,” Sinn Féin’s Paul Butler said.
“Unionists are incapable of sharing power. They are wedded to the policy of institutionalised sectarian discrimination.”
The Dublin government failed to attend yesterday’s meeting despite previous assurances that an official would monitor events.
Unionist councillor Paul Porter of the DUP welcomed the fact the Irish government had chosen not to attend yesterday’s meeting.
“I welcome the fact common sense has prevailed within the Irish government,” he said.
“It would have been clearly wrong for a foreign government to intervene in the internal workings of Lisburn.”
He said Sinn Féin should learn to “accept the democratic process”.
Mr Butler said he was “deeply disappointed” the Irish government had failed to attend yesterday’s election, and said they had succumbed to “unionist threats”.
“This situation is hugely disappointing. The Irish government have an obligation to promote and defend the rights of Irish citizens living in the six counties. They have an obligation to challenge blatant sectarian discrimination.
“ Sinn Féin will not stop our campaign for equality within council chambers across the six counties. At present the councils with unionist majorities are in the main incapable of embracing basic principles of proportionality or equality. This situation will not be allowed to go unchallenged.”
Mr Butler said he would now demand the Dublin government put pressure on the British government to introduce legislation forcing councils to adopt power sharing arrangements.
“If unionists won’t share power with nationalists then it is up to the British and Irish governments to introduce legislation which forces them to do so.
“The days of nationalists being treated as second-class citizens must come to an end and councils like Lisburn should realise this fact.”