Northern Ireland news

Disappointment over council's handling of anti-racism lighting

The civic buildings were lit up red in support of the anti-racism movement. Picture Mal McCann.
Adam Morton

Councillors from across the political divide have expressed disappointment at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s handling of a request to light up civic buildings in support of anti-racism.

At June’s monthly council meeting it was agreed that civic buildings would be lit up red but many councillors said they were unaware of the move.

Sinn Féin councillor Catherine Nelson said she did not know about the lighting until she saw a social media post on the evening of the event.

She told July's full council meeting that the group who submitted the initial request for the initiative "received no reply from council. That, in my opinion, shows a disregard to that community and I want to put on record that is how that played out.”

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Kevin Savage said the group’s disappointment with the council’s lack of response had been noted and that going forward, the council will aim to respond to every successful light-up request.

Council Chief Executive Roger Wilson said: “It is my understanding the letter came in to me or the Lord Mayor’s office and when the report was being presented the correspondence had been received and it was reflected in the report when officers presented it last month.”

When asked why this letter was not circulated, a spokesperson for the council said: “Council has an annual calendar agreed with members for the lighting up of civic buildings.

“Any additional requests received follow a standard procedure whereby they are passed to the senior officer responsible who then consults with party leaders, followed by consideration at the relevant committee, if required.

“In this instance the procedure was followed and agreement was reached with party leaders to light civic buildings red on July 1st”.

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