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Anger at SDLP move to weaken nationalist representation on new Council body

1 December, 2008

Sinn Féin Councillor Padraig McShane has accused the SDLP of attacking the rights of nationalists to fair representation on the new body set up to oversee the transition to the new Causeway Coast Council that incorporates Coleraine, Ballymoney, Limavady and Moyle councils.

The SDLP and two Independent Nationalist councillors united alongside Unionists in Moyle this month, to block Sinn Féin gaining an extra seat on a transitional committee for the new Super Councils.

The transitional committee is currently being set up to facilitate the transfer of business to the new Council known as Causeway Coast and incorporates five councillors each from Coleraine, Ballymoney, Limavady and Moyle.

Sinn Fein Councillor Padraig McShane was nominated along side Ulster Unionist Councillor Helen Harding for the fifth place allocated to Moyle for the committee. In a recorded vote Councillor Harding came out on top when councillors in the chamber united to keep Sinn Fein from gaining the extra place.

Councillor McShane said afterwards:

"Given that the new Council will have a large Unionist majority, I fail to understand the reasoning behind this vote. I would have assumed that Nationalists and Republicans would have preferred to enter these very important committees with as strong a team as possible.

"I am not sure these Councillors thought their actions through, but I feel they scored an own goal on behalf of the broader Nationalist community throughout the new council area.

"The SDLP should recognise that it is exactly this type of selfish approach to politics that has seen them go into electoral meltdown. The broader Nationalist and Republican community want to see their elected representative working together not engaging in petty party politics that is to the detriment of the nationalist and republican community." ENDS

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