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Limavady attack - an attack on democracy

23 January, 2008

Sinn Féin's leader on Limavady Borough Council Paddy Butcher has condemned an attack on two of his female colleagues after a meeting to discuss the implementation of a neutral public space motion which was adopted as policy on 24th October 2007.

Cllr Butcher said:"I lay the blame for this outrage at the door of Jim Allister's local loose cannon Cllr Leslie Cubitt.

"Throughout the debate Cllr Cubitt repeatedly made provocative and abusive statements which raised loud applause from a packed public gallery of his supporters.

"I eventually had to intervene and invoke Standing Orders which preclude the public from speaking or interfering with the debate to restore order.

"The meeting then had to go into recess on two occasions and was eventually abandoned.

"This is an attack on democracy.

"Two of my colleagues Cllrs Marion Donaghy and Anne Brolly were leaving the building when they were confronted a mob of seventy thugs assaulted, insulted and spat at. Anne's car was damaged and a large Union flag was draped over her windscreen and they had to return to the building for safety.

"A woman in her late twenties, a woman in her early sixties all on their own traumatised by a mob of seventy loyalists. This is not the work of men this is the work of cowards.

"Cllr Cubitt's apologies this morning were qiuite hypocritical as it was he himself who issued the rallying call for Unionists to appear at the meeting.

"I saw him with a large Union flag by his case in the chamber. As the PSNI were attempting to disperse the mob I heard him, in the presence of several witnesses including members of the media, shouting "Right lads, thanks for coming.

"If this is Jim Allister's new vision for Unionism he has questions to answer. I am calling from a public response from MEP Mr Allister on this issue.

"The motion was passed and as public representatives Cllrs Cubitt and Douglas surely embarressed their constituents by their actions.

"The neutral public space policy was passed last October and is cast in stone. The inventory of items which failed the equality proofing test remains as it was before and the representation on the Sub Committee still remains two Sinn Féin, one SDLP and two Unionists.

"This project has been work in progress for two and a half years and the Unionists have refused to attend one single meeting to make the case for their constituents. That is where they can engage with us in the hard work of making politics work rather than these bully boy tactics on the streets of Limavady." Críoch

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