Row over top post votes by unionists

Craigavon's new Mayor Cllr Colin McCusker.
Craigavon's new Mayor Cllr Colin McCusker.

A strongly-worded row has broken out among unionists on one council, where UUP members voted in favour of a Sinn Fein deputy mayor over a DUP one.

Five out of the six UUP members of Craigavon Borough Council cast votes for Catherine Seeley, who triumphed against the DUP’s own Darryn Causby for the post on Tuesday night.

It is the first time that Sinn Fein has ever been elevated to such a senior post on the council.

It followed the DUP’s decision to field Mr Causby for the top spot of mayor, and not to support the UUP’s own successful candidate for the post Colin McCusker.

Afterwards, the UUP said in a statement: “Why would they not support Colin McCusker as mayor? They were asked to, but refused. Rather the DUP wanted to be mayor for the fifth year in a row.”

It added, “if they hadn’t been so greedy, this issue would not have arisen”.

The DUP had issued a statement in the wake of the vote, accusing the UUP of “childish hatred” towards their unionist colleagues, saying: “For 25 consecutive years when the UUP was the largest party in Craigavon they never supported a DUP mayor once, yet they now bend over backwards to support Sinn Fein.”

In response yesterday, the UUP said Sinn Fein and the DUP “work together and they vote together” in the Stormont Assembly.

. Last night also saw the first meeting of the new Belfast City councillors who had been elected on May 22. It lasted a mere 50 minutes as procedural matters were sorted out.