Council axes equality working group

Cllr. Declan O'Loan
Cllr. Declan O'Loan

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Equality Working Group will be stood down after recommendations were approved at a recent meeting of the local authority.

The recommendations have been made by members of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee.

Issues which have been considered by the Equality Working Group have included the controversial crown monument at Larne’s Circular Road roundabout.

SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan, a member of the Policy and Resources Committee, is unhappy at the decision.

At the council meeting, he was told that standing orders prevented him from commenting further on the issue.

He said it was “utterly unreasonable” that an elected member is “restrained from even speaking on an issue”.

He stated that other members ought to be “very concerned that the basic democratic rights of councillors are being denied”.

His request for permission to do so was refused as it had not been presented to the chief executive ahead of the meeting. He was also told that members had been advised specifically that the issue would be raised at the last meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee.

A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “The recommendations from elected members on the Policy and Resources Committee were approved at full council. The Equality Working Group will be stood down, and any equality issues referred to the Policy and Resources Committee or full council for consideration.

“Options for future delivery will be reviewed as part of the review of committee structures and options presented to council for consideration.”