Last week the DUP tried and failed to deflect from their failings.
Days after the party were happy to work with Sinn Féin in City Hall to carve up public money and raise rates, they suggested not only was working with Sinn Féin wrong, but Alliance was the biggest offender.
However, it seems in his attempts to divert attention from his party’s blatant pact with Sinn Féin, Cllr Lee Reynolds got carried away with his spin.
It’s almost as if he was worried working closely with Sinn Féin would damage the DUP’s standing ahead of an election.
In his haste, he forgot when he said he outlined his opposition to the lighting of City Hall in support of the Irish language at the December council meeting, the minutes – available publicly to anyone – prove he didn’t.
Or when he says the lighting was to do with an Irish language act or a protest, rather than supporting the Irish language, or his attempts to link Alliance to the date of the lighting, the same minutes again prove him wrong.
These facts have been confirmed in writing by the Town Solicitor, correspondence from whom has been sent to this newspaper, and who has independently confirmed every one of the DUP’s inaccuracies as just that.
At the December council meeting, Alliance voted with unionists to oppose a nationalist attempt to revise the Irish street naming policy as we are tired of both unionists and nationalists trying to politicise the Irish language.
But of course that does not make as easy a story to bash Alliance with.
Based on the comments from Cllr Reynolds, the DUP currently has two uses for Sinn Féin in City Hall – to work with when money is involved and to use to whip up unionist fears.
Alliance works for everyone. We want to see our city built around inclusion, tolerance and acceptance of all who live and work here. We vote with what’s best for everyone and in keeping with our core values. Sometimes that is with unionist parties and sometimes it’s with nationalist parties. We won’t apologise for that, despite the DUP using it in an attempt to deflect from the spotlight.
If he really must boil everything down to a sectarian head-count, I’d remind Cllr Reynolds since June, Alliance has voted with Sinn Féin in City Hall 40% of the time – exactly the same percentage as the DUP’s voting record shows.
It is therefore unfortunate the accompanying editorial from the News Letter (January 11) seems to swallow this DUP propaganda whole by stating Sinn Féin can increasingly rely on support from Alliance in votes, when they clearly show this is not the case.
Either Cllr Reynolds hasn’t checked his ‘facts’ or he’s assuming News Letter readers will believe them as presented. Both scenarios are disappointing.
Cllr Michael Long
Alliance Party, Belfast