The Alliance Party in Castlereagh has slammed the failure of Castlereagh Borough Council to rotate the top posts in the council after the DUP’s John Norris was elected Mayor for a second time and the UUP’s Michael Copeland was elected Deputy Mayor at the council AGM.
Cllr Michael Long said: “I am disappointed but not surprised by the failure of the DUP and UUP to recognise the need to rotate posts on the basis of electoral strength in Castlereagh.”
“Alliance has again been thwarted in an attempt to have a mayor for the first time in 20 years, despite representing the majority of the almost 30 percent who didn’t vote unionist in the last election. At the same time, John Norris is now the sixth current DUP member to hold the post in a row.”
“Is it any wonder that many people think that the council chamber in Castlereagh is the most bigoted in Northern Ireland, with unionist councillors there standing almost alone in refusing to share power with non-unionists. Every year we hope the unionists will recognise the rights of others in the borough, but every year we are treated to a sectarian version of ‘Groundhog Day’ as the unionists carve up the top positions.”
“During the year, the council signed up to the Equality Commission – surely it is time that the issue of equality was extended to the sharing out of the council’s top posts?”
“I would also question the actions of the UUP, who appear to be happy to accept any little scraps from the DUP, rather than work with everyone to ensure a fair representation of the top posts.”