Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Unionist controlled Lisburn Council snubs Fermanagh Council

4 October, 2004

Fermanagh Sinn Féin Councillor Ruth Lynch hit out at Unionist controlled Lisburn Council for failing to respond positively to a Fermanagh Council motion which called on Lisburn Council to think again about excluding nationalists and non-unionists from the positions of chairs, vice chairs of council committees and membership of outside bodies.

Cllr Lynch said:

"For years councils all over the North of Ireland which were dominated by Unionists failed to let nationalists have any role in the council, snubbing a huge proportion of people. Lisburn Council still does. They will not let Nationalists play any role in the decision making process.

"This is why councils such as Fermanagh need to come out and publicly voice their support for nationalist groupings who are being discriminated against.

Otherwise Lisburn will continue it's policy of discrimination toward Catholics - for example, the council maintains 30 play areas and only 1 is located in a nationalist area. In Lisburn Council itself, the Fair Employment record shows that only 16% of the workforce is Catholic despite the fact that Catholics make up 33% of Lisburn's population.

"Not until Sinn Féin elected 9 councillors onto Fermanagh District Council - changing the overall political make up of the council - was any power sharing agreement put in place. Sinn Féin are not in the business of discriminating against any one or abusing our powers on councils. Nationalists time and time again have demonstrated they have no problem sharing positions.

"The Irish Government have also publicly expressed their disappointment and Unionist intransigence on yet another issue. The Mayor of Lisburn Council is currently in China, ironically on an event that is supposed to foster good relations between Lisburn and China. Maybe he should look closer to home.

"The only response we have received from Lisburn Council on our motion looking for genuine power sharing is that it was 'unprecedented, unwelcome and indeed inaccurate interference with the internal business of this council'. My own response is that we hope to set a precedent, that we are accurate and that we will not let nationalists in Lisburn down. In fact we call on all councils to send similar motions to Lisburn Council. Sinn Féin is currently questioning the legality of Unionist behaviour in Lisburn Council with the Equality commission. " ENDS

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