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Sinn Fein accuse Equality Commission of double standards over UDR Memorial

19 January, 2009

Sinn Fein MLA Paul Butler has accused the Equality Commission of operating double standards in its attitude to memorials on council-owned properties. The Equality Commission objected to and asked the Secretary of State to intervene over Omagh Council's decision to allow a hunger strike memorial on council-owned property while it wrote to Lisburn council informing them that the Commission had no problem with a UDR memorial on Lisburn council-owned property.

Speaking today Mr Butler said:

'While the Equality Commission is pursuing Omagh Council over its decision to allow a hunger strike memorial on its property the Commission has approved Lisburn Council's decision to erect a UDR memorial on Lisburn council property without any formal investigation. That to me is double standards.'

'Sinn Fein is opposed to the Commission's decision. Many nationalists will be disappointed that the Planning Service has given approval for this monument. Catholics in Lisburn are totally opposed to their rates being used to honour a regiment that was heavily involved in the killing of Catholics.'

Paul Butler continued:

'The UDR monument, which will be erected on Council-owned land, with the approval of Lisburn Council's unionist majority, will stand as an indictment of the sectarian and exclusively unionist agenda the council has followed for decades.

'I have asked the Equality Commission to investigate how Lisburn Council carried out its equality impact assessment into this issue. Sinn Fein has concerns about how the Council carried out this equality impact assessment. It merely rubber stamped a decision that had already been taken to allow Council land to be used to erect this memorial.'

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