Irish Republican News · May 18, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Councils are ‘acid test’ for DUP - Durkan

The British government will be asked to appoint an administrator to run Lisburn council if unionists refuse to power-sharing arrangements with nationalists.

Following last week’s local government elections Lisburn council is divided between 13 DUP representatives, seven Ulster Unionists and four Sinn Féin. Alliance and the SDLP both have three councillors.

Despite nationalists having made up a quarter of the council in recent years, unionists have traditionally held on to the council’s top positions.

The absence of any power-sharing arrangements last year led to the Dublin government voicing public concerns.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the DUP’s attitude to power sharing in local councils would be the “acid test” of its political intentions.

He said: “Since the elections, the DUP have gone on about their mandate. Although they have only one third of the vote, they have acted like they have all of it.

“Now in councils we will have to see if they do the same by hogging all positions for unionists and trying to leave nationalists out in the cold.

“This will be the acid test of the DUP’s intentions.”

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler has said he will call for the appointment of an administrator to run Lisburn if unionists exclude nationalists this time around.

“If there is no change this year we will be demanding the appointment of an administrator,” Mr Butler said.

“Jeffrey Donaldson will lead the DUP into council with the sole intention of turning Lisburn into a unionist fiefdom dominated by the DUP.

“The DUP will turn Lisburn into a sectarian bear-pit where nationalists will be totally frozen out.

“If this happens we have no other option but to demand that all powers are taken out of their hands.”

Meanwhile, the DUP has refused the position of deputy mayor on Moyle Council because there is a Sinn Féin mayor. Sinn Féin’s Oliver McMullan was elected as Moyle’s first ever Sinn Féin mayor on Monday night.

The success followed the election of four republican councillors, a quadrupling of the party’s representation on the council after a surge of support in the Glens of Antrim.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News