The Alliance Party Group on Castlereagh Borough Council have expressed their anger in a joint statement after the election of a UUP Mayor and DUP Deputy Mayor at today’s AGM, at the expense of Alliance’s Councillor Geraldine Rice, who is the longest serving councillor on the council who has not yet served on either post.
The Group, including Councillors Sara Duncan, Michael Long and Geraldine Rice, said:
“Prior to today’s meeting, Alliance had called for a change in the policy of the Council, from one of exclusion to one of inclusion. Unfortunately, the Council has lived up to its reputation of being probably the most backward-looking council in Northern Ireland.
“For years the Unionist parties on the Council have excluded all others from the top posts, ignoring their democratic mandates. We in Alliance are sick and tired of our voters being treated like second-class citizens.
“It is now 25 years since an Alliance Councillor was elected Mayor in Castlereagh Borough Council. During this time, Alliance would have been entitled to 6 Mayorships, based on our electoral strength in the Borough. Under virtually any system of proportionality, Alliance would be entitled to a Mayorship within this term, let alone during the past 25 years.
“Alliance is not asking for anything that we have not earned electorally.”
Councillor Geraldine Rice lost the vote to Michael Henderson (UUP) by 15 to 6. The Alliance Party Group was also excluded from any of the Council Committee Chairmanships. These posts were allocated by the UUP and DUP amongst themselves.