Alliance Councillor Geraldine Rice has accused the UUP of being more interested in securing council positions than fairness or equality after Castlereagh Borough Council’s Annual General Meeting.
Cllr Rice expressed her anger at the decision at the Council’s AGM to yet again exclude Alliance Party councillors from the top posts. A DUP member was elected Mayor, and Alliance representatives were again excluded from appointments to outside bodies and community groups, as well as Council chairmanships.
Cllr Rice said: “Alliance has been excluded from the top post for over a quarter of a century. Under any system of proportionality the party would have had a Mayor this term and in the last six, demonstrating that Castlereagh is probably the most backward-looking Council in Northern Ireland in terms of equality, proportionality and fairness.
“Yet again the Unionists on Castlereagh Council have shown that they are not interested in inclusiveness. Castlereagh Council probably has the worst record in Northern Ireland for rotating top posts, despite the fact that more than 30 percent of voters in the Borough did not vote for either of the larger Unionist parties.
“Unionist Councillors have ensured that Castlereagh is a byword for greed and unfairness.
“Whilst you do not expect a ‘fair deal’ from the DUP, residents of the Borough should know that the DUP cannot act alone but depends on the support of the UUP to maintain their policy of exclusion.
“It is sad that both have decided to opt for exclusion in their pursuit of positions and the extra money that comes from chairing committees.”
Notes: The Council, where the DUP now have 9 Councillors, the UUP 5 and Alliance 4, has now elected 3 DUP and 1 UUP Mayor this term and 1 DUP and 3 UUP Deputy Mayors this term whilst Alliance have not held the top post for the past quarter of the century.