Sinn Fein lash SDLP over ‘homophobic’ council lights debate

Craigmore Viaduct
Craigmore Viaduct

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have clashed over proposals for the council to support the forthcoming Newry gay pride festival.

Sinn Fein lashed out at the SDLP for opposing proposals made on Monday night to light up the Newry viaduct at Craigmore, as has been done for other events.

However, the SDLP said it was not value for money and that Newry LBGT group was happy with the alternative.

Sinn Fein councillor Liz Kimmins said: “Newry and Mourne Council have on several occasions approved the illumination of the Craigmore viaduct to celebrate significant dates or highlight issues.

“Sinn Fein proposed that the viaduct should be illuminated again in support of the 2014 Newry Pride Festival and Parade.

“Now narrow-minded political interests on the council have opposed the proposal, claiming that it is suddenly too expensive. In my opinion there was a nasty homophobic undertone to this debate.”

SDLP councillor Michael Carr confirmed his party opposed the move, but said the £3,500 cost for temporary lighting would be better put towards permanent lighting for all events.

“We spoke to the Newry LGBT group and have agreed to light up the town hall with rainbow colours instead, which they are quite happy with,” he said.

He rejected Sinn Fein claims of a “homophobic undertone” to the debate.