Northern Ireland news

Derry and Strabane council to review decision not to mark NI centenary

Unionist and Alliance members of Derry city and Strabane district council called for a proposal not to mark on the centenary of partition to be overturned
Seamus McKinney

DERRY and Strabane council has referred a decision not to mark the centenary of the founding of Northern Ireland back to a committee for review.

Following an acrimonious debate, the council agreed to review the proposal by independent member Gary Donnelly last month that the authority should play no part as a corporate body in marking the anniversary.

Mr Donnelly's proposal, which was supported by SDLP and Sinn Féin councillors, sparked a furious reaction from unionists.

At a meeting on Thursday, unionists and Alliance members used the local government “call-in” process to have the issue re-examined.

DUP councillor Hilary McClintock described the original proposal as “nothing short of disgraceful” and said unionist anger would only be eased if it was overturned.

Unionist councillors also claimed it was discriminatory against the minority community in the area.

However, nationalist and republican members said they believed the proposal upheld the council's view that it should not organise corporate events to mark centenary anniversaries but that there was no bar on groups applying for funding to mark events.

Mrs McClintock's call for the original proposal to be overturned was voted down but a move to refer it back to council's business and culture committee was carried.

Proposing the move, SDLP leader on the council Martin Reilly said his party understood that the original proposal had led to “debate”.

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