The super-council that continues to sink to new depths

Morning View
Morning View

Even by their own ignominious recent standards, some of the representatives of Derry and Strabane District Council sunk to new depths earlier this week.

The only question is which of the two motions passed in the council chamber on Thursday was the more stomach-churning.

It was bad enough for councillors to approve a motion calling for a boycott of the Sun newspaper in the Londonderry area.

But worse still was the call for a boycott of Israel.

Whatever the motivation for these motions, what cannot be disputed is that this council has become a hot-bed of extremist opinion.

Faced by independent republican councillors, Sinn Fein’s own representatives are dancing to the extremist tune and making decisions that should, in theory, leave the party hierarchy shifting uncomfortably.

The end result is the kind of hardline statements and motions that were approved on Thursday.

The motion about The Sun is as peculiar as it is sickening. That newspaper’s coverage of the Hillsborough disaster is something that has been publicly apologised for but the Londonderry councillors have also alleged ‘anti-Irish’ bias.

The call to boycott the paper should be treated with contempt by those who sell The Sun and those who buy it in Londonderry. Free speech is essential in any society.

Worse still was the motion on Israel. It is obscene enough to call for a boycott of Israeli goods, but the call is to shun anything culturally, academically or economically to do with Israel. What kind of message does this convey to our Jewish community?

DUP MLA Gary Middleton fears Sinn Fein and independent republicans are trying to outdo each other. If so the future looks bleak for those who depend on that council governing with equity and fairness.