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'No agreement' on Craigavon Council Co-option

4 August, 2009

Sinn Féin Craigavon Councillor Mairead O’Dowd has accused the DUP and TUV of breath-taking arrogance over their announcement that they have decided that there will be no by-election caused by the decision of TUV Cllr Mark Russell to stand down from Craigavon Council.

Cllr O’Dowd said;

“Both the TUV and the DUP have arrogantly announced that they have decided that there will be no by-election over Cllr Russell’s decision to leave the Council and that they will arrange a co-option They have failed to grasp the reality that the decision is not in the gift of either party.

“The reality is that unless all parties on Craigavon Council agree to such a co-option there will have to be a By-election and at no stage have any of the parties involved in this worthless deal approached Sinn Féin to find out what our position would be.

“The facts of the matter are that Sinn Féin has been seeking to co-opt a replacement for Councillor John O’Dowd MLA for a considerable time in line with our policy of ending Dual mandates between Council and the Assembly. Throughout that time we have been reliably informed that the only Councillor who would object to such a co-option would be Mark Russell and that he would force a by-election in such circumstances at a cost of £25,000 to the ratepayer.

“The same Mark Russell now tells us that he will himself be co-opted off the Council because the DUP and the TUV have a cosy deal which, quite frankly, is worthless.”

Concluding Cllr Mrs O’Dowd said;

“What is required is an arrangement which covers all co-options on Craigavon Council. If the DUP and the TUV are sincere in their view that a by-election that would cost the rate payer £25,000 is unacceptable in the case of Cllr Russell, then the same applies to Cllr John O’Dowd’s co-option.

“The TUV cannot claim to be concerned about costs to rate payers and then insist on an election when they think it suits them.” ENDS

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