Castlereagh Alliance Councillor Judith Cochrane has expressed her dismay at a Unionist carve-up at the AGM of Castlereagh Borough Council which saw Alliance, the joint second largest party, excluded from top posts, paid committee chair positions and membership of the East Belfast Partnership. The meeting saw the election of a 6th DUP mayor in a row this term backed by the UUP, whilst the UUP was given a third deputy mayor.
Cllr. Cochrane said, “This was a very sad, tribal development in Castlereagh, with the Unionist parties agreeing to carve up top positions. At the start of this term there had been some welcome small steps towards power-sharing although they still failed to allocate posts proportionately; however, last night we saw a return to a full scale policy of exclusion of non-Unionists from top posts and chair positions.
“The result is that Castlereagh is back on top of the tribal league of Councils in Northern Ireland in terms of electing top posts. Despite being the joint second largest party, Alliance has had one deputy mayor in the whole term whilst the DUP have taken all six Mayors and the UUP have had 3 deputies despite the fact that they have the same number of Councillors as we have.
“The real reason for this reversion to type is undoubtedly due to the fact that Alliance has been happy to stand up to the DUP in the Council when it matters but we can reassure ratepayers that we will continue to challenge decisions and work for real openness and transparency in Castlereagh.”