Sinn Féin - On Your Side

SDLP decision to share power with Sinn Fein on Down District Council welcomed

20 May, 2005

Sinn Fein Down District Council Group Leader Cllr Éamonn Mac Con Midhe has welcomed the u-turn by the SDLP who this week finally decided to share the key positions of Chair and Vice Chair with Down District with Republican elected representatives.

Cllr Mac Con Midhe said:

"After a meeting with SDLP Councillors to discuss who will be elected to the two most important positions on the council it was agreed that the D'Hondt mechanism should be operated in a fair and equitable manner. This will mean that during the four year term of the Council, Sinn Féin will for the first time hold the positions of Chair and Vice Chair.

"In what is a victory for common sense I am relieved that the mandate secured by Sinn Fein on May 5th, which now makes us the second largest party sitting on the Council, is finally to be recognised.

"On Thursday night's edition of Hearts and Minds the SDLP's party chairperson, Patricia Lewsley, when discussing the discrimination shown to nationalists on Lisburn City Council, agreed that Down District Council had failed to share power equally and was why her party had reassessed the situation.

"Sinn Féin have consistently argued that large swathes of the nationalist electorate were being discriminated in South Down because of the SDLP's determination to exclude Sinn Féin from holding the most important positions within the Council. Indeed as late as last week SDLP Cllr Eamonn O'Neill stated their policy of rotating the positions of Chair and Vice Chair with the OUP would continue so I welcome their decision to revise this policy which has been every bit as discriminatory as that operated by Unionist dominated Councils such as Castlereagh and Lisburn.

"It is vital nationalists cooperate and work together at both local and national level as we now face the prospect of having to deal with the DUP who look set to dominate Unionism for the foreseeable future. ENDS

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