DUP on ABC Council accused of ‘squandering ratepayer’s money’, says Sinn Fein

Catherine Nelson
Catherine Nelson

Sinn Fein has accused the DUP on Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council of ‘squandering ratepayer’s money’.

Sinn Fein Cllr Catherine Nelson was speaking after a DUP’s party political election broadcast in which they claimed to support low rates and spend money wisely.

Councillor Mark Baxter

Councillor Mark Baxter

Cllr Nelson said: “In the DUP-dominated ABC Council £40k of ratepayers’ money was used, with DUP support, to buy ceremonial robes for councillors to wear a few times a year.

“£250k of ratepayer’s money was spent on a jingoistic celebration of WW1. With little or no attempt to engage in a debate about the causes of what was largely, an imperialist adventure, which cost the lives of millions of working class people across Europe and beyond.

“The list of DUP inspired ego trips goes on: £17k on portaloos for Orange Order events and parades; £90k on Queen Elizabeth birthday celebrations; £130k on bonfire clean ups.

“Now the DUP propose spending hundreds of thousands of pounds of ratepayers’ money on celebrating the partition of Ireland.”

Cllr Nelson said: “As a DUP dominated Council, ABC Council has recognised only one narrative – the Unionist narrative – on a whole range of issues.

“In reality, this council area has an Irish identity and culture which has been at best ignored and at worst discriminated against.

“The only way to break the cycle of inequality, discrimination and denial of rights is to end the DUP’s domination of ABC Council.”

DUP Group Leader on ABC Council Mark Baxter said, “This is quite an abrasive and vitriolic statement from Sinn Féin’s Catherine Nelson, we expect no less. It, of course, completely airbrushes the recent history of Sinn Fein and their association with the IRA.

“That illegal, terrorist, criminal organisation placed a number of car bombs within this Borough which of course most callously caused loss of life but also cost millions of pounds in lost revenue, repairs and held back economic growth. Consider the fact our friend and party colleague Councillor Junior McCrum’s 11-year- old brother was killed in the 1982 Banbridge IRA car bomb attack and this makes Cllr. Nelson’s comments even more distasteful.

“It is through this very dark prism that Cllr Nelson’s comments should be viewed and as democrats and only democrats the DUP will not take lectures from a party which wants you to forget its past.”