Northern Ireland news

Poster appearing to threaten council staff put up in Mid-Ulster

A poster that appears to threaten council staff in Mid Ulster has been put up in Dungannon
Connla Young

A poster appearing to threaten staff who work for a council planning to introduce a bonfire licensing scheme has been erected in Mid-Ulster.

It is believed the poster, which reads ‘Attention Mid Ulster Council - continued cultural oppression can only lead to aggression toward the oppression’ was put up on a pole in Dungannon in recent days.

The poster in the Killyman Road area of the town comes after the nationalist controlled Mid-Ulster District Council voted last month to introduce a bonfire licensing scheme in the district.

It is believed to be the first time a council in the north has moved to regulate bonfires in this way.

Earlier this week a leading lawyer said a unionist challenge to the decision “does not have merit”.

It is understood there were sharp exchanges during the council’s monthly meeting on Thursday when the matter was reconsidered and a fresh vote taken, which also returned a majority in favour of introducing a licensing scheme.

It has previously been reported that in a letter requesting a ‘call-in’ procedure DUP councillors said the bonfire decision had a "direct discriminatory impact on Protestants and unionists”.

SDLP councillor Denise Mullen last night voiced concern about the poster.

“It’s not acceptable,” she said.

“This was a democratic decision taken by council and a potential challenge was dismissed.

“I am concerned for the safety of council staff, councillors and personnel.”

DUP councillor Paul McLean condemned the poster.

“The last thing that we want, that I want, is violence or intimidation,” he said.

“We have stood against that for all of our lives and whenever that intimidation came from the Provisional IRA, or Sinn Féin/IRA, we condemned it and it’s only right that irrespective of where it comes from it needs to be condemned.

“There is no way I can justify that.

“If there is a poster up it should not be up.”

Mr McLean said politics was the way forward.

“There is a political process that I have got involved in and I believe it the right way,” he said.

“And even though it’s not always as helpful as I would like it to be and as successful as I would like to be, the political process is the right process.”

A spokeswoman for Mid Ulster District Council said: “In addressing any issues which may arise with bonfires on Council property, the safety of our staff will always be paramount.”

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