Northern Ireland news

DUP's Dale Pankhurst defends wearing band uniform to council meeting

Oldpark DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst at Monday's Belfast city council meeting in his band uniform.

A Sinn Féin councillor has complained that the DUP's Oldpark representative, Dale Pankhurst, showed up at Monday's Belfast City Council meeting wearing a loyalist band uniform.

Ciaran Beattie raised the issue, after the DUP councillor wore a band uniform ahead of Monday's Somme Day parade.

In 2014 former DUP councillor, Ruth Patterson caused an uproar when she showed up at the council meeting wearing a Linfield scarf.

Mr Beattie said; "A couple of years ago we had a fairly heated debate in this chamber about one member who came in with a football scarf wrapped around them and there's been an agreement since that, that no member should come into the chamber wearing either football material or anything else like that".

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Pankhurst said he was forced to wear the uniform "due to time constraints".

He also said Sinn Féin Mayor Deirdre Hargey had approached the DUP group leader and said the party would not be objecting to Mr Pankhurst wearing his Whiterock Flute Band uniform.

He also said Sinn Féin councillors Seanna Walsh and Daniel Baker arrived at the meeting wearing GAA tops.

However, Sinn Féin said both men were asked to go and change before the meeting started.

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