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DUP election in Strabane is challenge for rejectionists

7 June, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for West Tyrone Pat Doherty today said that the DUP now had to prove that they were capable of sharing power on the basis of equality and respect both at local government level and within any restored political institutions. Mr Doherty's comments came after the election of a DUP Chair and Sinn Féin Deputy Chair on Strabane Council last night.

Mr Doherty said:

"Historically on councils where nationalists and republicans hold the numerical majority senior positions have been rotated between the all of the parties on the basis of proportionality. This contrasts sharply with the practice on unionist dominated councils like Ballymoney, Lisburn or Ballymena where unionist councillors exclude nationalists and republicans as a matter of policy.

"Last night in Strabane SDLP and Sinn Féin councillors joined with the unionist parties to elect a DUP Chair. Unfortunately such generosity of spirit was not on display when it came to the election of a Deputy Chair the DUP refused to back the Sinn Féin nominee.

"Sharing power on the basis of equality and respect is what is required if we are to build a shared future on this island. However the unionist parties and the DUP in particular have yet to demonstrate that they are capable of treating their nationalist and republican neighbours with such respect." ENDS

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