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Concerns raised over plans to scrap council equality working group

SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan has voiced concern after a decision was taken at a committee at Mid and East Antrim council to to scrap an Equality Working Group
Connla Young

NATIONALISTS have voiced concern over plans to scrap an Equality Working Group at a Co Antrim council.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim council's Policy and Resources Committee earlier this week.

The recommendation is expected to be considered at a full council meeting early next month.

The working group is made up representatives from each party, as well as independents, and considers matters that have an impact on equality issues.

In the past it has examined sensitive issues including the placing of a 1916 memorial in the seaside village of Carnlough, which was later removed by the council.

SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan last night criticised the move.

"This is a further illustration that the council does not recognise the concept of equality, and insists that all decisions should reflect its overwhelming unionist majority,” he said.

Mr O'Loan said that the council action will ensure 'majority rule'.

“It now wants to place equality issues even more firmly in the political arena where majority rule will determine the outcome," he said.

DUP group leader Gregg McKeen said there was no need for the working group.

“The first thing is the actual working group has been stood down or done away with but that's not to say we will not be looking at issues around equality,” he said.

“Those issues will be discussed around the Policy and Resources Committee.”

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