Alliance Councillors on Lisburn City Council last night ensured that a DUP motion to confer the freedom of the city to the Orange Order was debated after an attempt was made to curtail discussion on the topic last night. They voted against the motion, but it went through.
Group leader Cllr Brian Dornan insisted on his right to speak on the motion as the DUP group attempted to send the motion to committee without discussion on its merits.
Cllr Brian Dornan said: “Seeking to confer the freedom of the city on the Orange Order is not justified at this time. While the Order remains politically active with a restricted membership not enjoying widespread community support, it is inappropriate for Lisburn City Council to bestow our highest civic honour on them.”
Cllr Stephen Martin, Chairman of the Corporate Services Committee to which the motion has been sent, said: “People will be left scratching their heads asking why the DUP decided to devote its attention to spending ratepayers money on bestowing the Freedom of the City to the Orange Order.
“I share that bewilderment when we should be working on the economic issues facing us. I do not think anyone can justify throwing a civic party for an organisation which explicitly states it represents one community and not us all. Civic honours are for exceptional individuals and organisations.
“The DUP failed to explain why the Order merits being placed on a civic pedestal. You are left with the distinct impression that this rushed inappropriate motion is a purely political stunt to court votes.”
Cllr Jennifer Coulter concluded “I was disappointed at the lack of a SDLP presence at the Council meeting and their position requires urgent clarification. The DUP have overreached on this occasion by using their manufactured majority and a complacent UUP to rush through a proposal most people I am certain would consider unnecessary.”