Sinn Fein Mayor to remain in post despite vote of no-confidence against him

Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough, councillor Sean Bateson
Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough, councillor Sean Bateson
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The Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens council will remain in post despite a vote of no-confidence against him, Sinn Fein has confirmed.

A motion of no-confidence in councillor Sean Bateson passed, during a special meeting of the council last night in Coleraine, with 17 votes in favour.

The Sinn Fein Mayor has faced calls to step down as mayor since August, after he paid tribute to hunger striker Thomas McElwee on social media, hailing him as “brave”.

McElwee, from Bellaghy in Co Londonderry, was arrested after a premature explosion in an IRA attack in 1976 which cost him the sight of one eye.

When he died on hunger strike he was serving 20 years for a Ballymena incendiary bomb attack in which 26-year-old Yvonne Dunlop was burnt alive in her clothes shop.

The motion was passed with the support of the DUP, UUP and PUP.

Sinn Fein did not attend the meeting, while the SDLP walked out. The Alliance Party abstained.

The no-confidence vote is non-binding and does not compel councillor Bateson to resign as Mayor.

Councillor Bateson has declined to comment and referred the News Letter, instead, to the Sinn Fein press office.

A spokesperson for Sinn Fein confirmed to the News Letter this morning that councillor Bateson would remain in post as Mayor.

DUP councillor Ivor Wallace said that, despite the non-binding nature of the motion it was “important to make our opposition known on the record.”

During the meeting, councillor Wallace said: “Although I would completely disagree with him in his political outlook I acknowledge his aspirations for a united Ireland.

“However, I cannot agree with the mayor of this borough glorifying terrorists and terrorism and then insisting he is the mayor for all the people in borough.”