Sinn Fein’s ‘bigotry’ slammed after party achieves black out at Belfast City Hall and Stormont while rest of UK lights up for NI Centenary

Neither Belfast City Hall nor the home of NI Parliament at Stormont will be illuminated to mark Northern Ireland’s centenary.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 5:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st October 2021, 7:18 pm
Stormont has been lit up for a number of occasions including International Women's Day (pictured)

It comes after Sinn Fein intervention to stop both events going ahead.

TUV leader Jim Allister described it as “a further manifestation of the oppressive bigotry of Sinn Fein rule”.

It had been proposed that Stormont be lit up tomorrow evening for the NI Centenary along with other landmarks across the UK but a decision was made by the Assembly Commission, due to a Sinn Fein veto, to deny permission.

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Belfast City Hall should have been lit up tonight, having been rescheduled due to an admin error that saw it double booked for tomorrow night, but that too was prevented a SF call-in.

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: “The decision to illuminate City Hall was subject to a call in this morning. An initial legal opinion indicates the call in has merit. As a result of this the illuminate will not be proceeding.”

Sinn Fein’s group leader on the council Ciaran Beattie claimed the move to illuminate City Hall – a proposal not included in the council’s Decade of Centenary’s programme agreed by all parties– was “entirely political and triumphalist”.

Mr Beattie said: “To proceed with the decision to illuminate Belfast City Hall without due process and recognition of the Decade of Centenaries principles will cause hurt in the City and disregard previously agreed council policy on remembering historical events.”

DUP councillor Brian Kingston said: “We have had a number of events commemorating the centenary of Northern Ireland, some of which Sinn Fein have taken part in so it really is just petty they have blocked this.”

In relation to the blocking of Stormont’s illumination for the NI Centenary, an Assembly spokesperson said: “The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission has a special lighting policy in place which deals with extraordinary requests for lighting Parliament Buildings.

“All requests under this policy are agreed by consensus by members of the Assembly Commission. On this occasion, there was no consensus to approve lighting Parliament Buildings on October 22.”

TUV leader Jim Allister commented: “Having blocked the erection of a stone and the planting of a rose bush to mark the centenary of the formation of the state they jointly govern Sinn Fein have now blocked even the lighting of Stormont for a single night.

“This is but a small snapshot of the oppression which would await unionists if they were ever so foolish as to agree to all-Ireland.

“The shameful fact that Republicans have been able to abuse their position at Stormont to block this modest way to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland will only feed the growing realisation in unionism that Stormont doesn’t deliver for them.

“How ironic that those who shout loudest about the need for equality and respect show so little respect to the unionists of Northern Ireland that they couldn’t even put the lights on at Stormont.”

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