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Political news

Three suspended SDLP councillors absent from Belfast City Council meeting

The SDLP's Kate Mullan, Pat Convery and Declan Boyle

THREE SDLP councillors suspended from the party did not attend the latest meeting of Belfast City Council.

Declan Boyle, Pat Convery and Kate Mullan were all absent from the monthly meeting on Tuesday night.

Their absence, which was noted at the start of proceedings, comes a month after they were suspended for not supporting a motion opposing harassment of women by anti-abortion activists.

The trio abstained from the motion, proposed by the Green Party, calling for an end to intimidation outside sexual health clinics, while the SDLP's four other councillors supported the resolution.

The SDLP claimed that Mr Boyle, Mr Convery and Ms Mullan had defied instructions from party headquarters.

Mr Convery was also removed as the SDLP's council group leader and Ms Mullan as deputy group leader. The three councillors were also allocated their own room in City Hall.

Their decision not to attend the meeting on Tuesday night reduced the SDLP's representation on the council to just four members.

It remains unclear how long the trio will be suspended for. An SDLP spokesman last night said the suspension was "still ongoing".

"Formal disciplinary proceedings are underway," he added.

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