Councillors to debate Palestine situation

An elderly Palestinian man falls on the ground after being shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel
An elderly Palestinian man falls on the ground after being shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel

A special meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council has been called for Monday to debate the ongoing situation in Palestine.

Councillors voted to light up council buildings for 48 hours in Palestinian colours in a show of solidarity with the victims on Monday’s killing on the Gaza-Israel border at yesterday’s environment and regeneration committee meeting.

But, as that decision requires ratification by the full council, which was not due to sit until Thursday, May 31, it cannot be carried out.

Councillors voted at Tuesday’s business and culture committee meeting in favour of the opening of a book of condolence. Mayor Maoliosa McHugh opened the book of condolence at the Guildhall on Wednesday.

Speaking at yesterday’s environment and regeneration committee meeting at the Guildhall Sinn Fein group leaders Sandra Duffy said: “We have seen 60 people killed and over 2,000 injured and to show our solidarity, council buildings should be lit up in Palestinian colours to show our solidarity.

“The Palestinian people want people around the world to get the message of their suffering.”

DUP councillor Graham Warke said the council should stop wasting time debating events which occurred thousands of miles away,

“As a council, we should be dealing with issues that we can affect, such as highlighting mental health week,” he said.

The SDLP’s Martin Reilly said: “Issues being local and being international are not mutually exclusive,” he said.

“We can highlight both. What is happening in Gaza is of interest to people in this part of the world.”

Independent unionist Maurice Devenney said: “If we are going to do this every time we want to highlight an issue, then we are going to be lighting up a lot of buildings.”