Alliance hits out at Castlereagh Council Unionist carve-up

Alliance Alderman Geraldine Rice has hit out at the DUP and Ulster Unionist’s lack of power sharing on Castlereagh Borough Council, as Unionists once again carved up all the top positions during the annual AGM.

The DUP and UUP again excluded Alliance, opting to take the Mayor and Deputy Mayor positions and all chairmanships – including the PCSP which was expected to go to Alliance.

Alderman Geraldine Rice said: “It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Unionists in Castlereagh decided against power sharing, voting to ensure Alliance did not receive any top positions. Yet again the DUP took the Mayor, with 14 votes to nine, with the SDLP joining forces with Unionists against Councillor Sara Duncan, ensuring she lost the vote for Deputy Mayor by 16 votes to seven.

“Peter Robinson has spoken about the need to create a shared future on the world stage, yet when it comes down to his home Council, his Unionist colleagues are failing to support shared future strategies at a local level.

“A blatant failure to follow legal advice set out by the Department of Justice led to Alliance being passed over for the PCSP Chair. This is simply not acceptable and the group will be looking further into this matter.

“RPA will make power sharing mandatory and this type of sectarian carve up will be left in the past. However Alliance would like to see this legislation come sooner rather than later, especially ahead of next year’s AGM.

“As it stands ratepayers who voted Alliance, who want a better society for everyone, are not being properly represented on this Council. Alliance will not be silent on this issue as Unionists in Castlereagh are stopping the Borough from reaching its full potential.”

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