Alliance Antrim Councillors Neil Kelly and Alan Lawther have expressed their concern that the two unionist parties on Antrim Borough Council will do what they did last year and form a pact to appoint another Unionist Mayor and Unionist Deputy Mayor at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday.
Councillor Alan Lawther said: “We had an election last year that returned ten Unionist Councillors and nine non Unionist Councillors, last year they formed a pact and took the top two positions and it seems they have and may do the same this year. Nearly half the council is non Unionist yet over the last two years all of the top four posts may end up going to Unionists.
“In the previous Council term Unionists had a larger majority with eleven Unionist Councillors and eight non Unionist Councillors yet the Parties were still able to agree on a Nationalist Mayor and an Alliance deputy Mayor on two occasions.
“It seems to me that we are moving backwards rather than forwards as far as power sharing goes. Both Unionist Parties talk about a shared future but all they do is talk, the challenge we put to the Antrim Unionists is let’s see some action, let’s see a non Unionist Mayor or Deputy Mayor this year. If anybody wants to find out if there is any unionist unity pacts going on then they need only look at what is happening at Councils like Antrim.”
Councillor Neil Kelly stated “When I first went on to the Council two years ago I was told by people from various backgrounds that I was fighting a loosing battle and that Antrim was a Unionist Council for Unionist people, I will continue to work at ensuring that this is not the case but when situations like this arise it becomes more and more difficult to change that perception.
“Ballymena Borough Council appointed a Nationalist Mayor at their AGM last week, Ballymena have eighteen Unionist Councillors out of twenty four, they are a 75% Unionist Council yet they have the foresight to be progressive and represent all of the people they serve.
“Councillor Lawther and I appeal to both Unionist Parties to consider all of their options and make the right decision for all of the people in the Borough of Antrim at the AGM on Thursday.”