Northern Ireland news

Local artist vows to continue painting Belfast City Council despite Sinn Féin objections

Artist and political cartoonist Brian John Spencer

A LOCAL artist has vowed to continue with his request to sketch Belfast City Council in session, despite pledges from Sinn Féin that they will leave the chamber if the artwork went ahead.

It comes after the party threatened to boycott any council meetings if Brian John Spencer was allowed in to draw those present.

The artist and political cartoonist had asked to sketch this month's Belfast City Council meeting. But the request was voted down in committee following a Sinn Féin proposal.

Mr Spencer has previously drawn political cartoons critical of Sinn Féin.

On Monday, an amendment was tabled by Jeffrey Dudgeon of the Ulster Unionist Party seeking to reverse the decision. A majority of councillors later voted to allow the artist into a future council meeting.

But Sinn Fein's Ciaran Beattie said, regardless if the council gave the artist future permission to sketch the council chamber, he would not be given permission to draw Sinn Féin representatives.

"We will be opposing it and, whether we are successful or not, the cartoonist will not have permission to draw me or, I'm sure, any of my colleagues."

However, Mr Spencer last night told the BBC that he intends to proceed with his request to paint a meeting of Belfast City Council.

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