Bangor’s growing troupe of protesters opposed to North Down Borough Council’s management of European peace funding, have secured a joint meeting with Peter Robinson and Martin McGuiness to voice their concerns.
Local demonstrators armed with posters that read ‘Council in denial’, ‘Failure rewarded by promotion’ and ‘Polley Out’ turned out at Bregenz House car park last Thursday (February 17), catching the attention of the First and Deputy First Ministers during their ministerial visit to Bangor Coastguard station.
Karen Worrall, one of the protesters said: “We make it very clear that our actions here today are not to take away from the importance of retaining our local coastguard station, but to highlight the ongoing problems in North Down around Peace III funding and other community matters, including the gerrymandering of partnerships to prevent women’s groups accessing much needed funding for education.
“We strongly feel working class loyalist communities are being treated unfairly by the council and we are pleased that both Mr Robinson and Mr McGuiness took the time to come and talk to us even though they were both in a hurry for their next engagement.
“They both assured us they wanted to have a personal |meeting with us to hear more in depth about the difficulties we are facing.”
Fellow Peace III protester Jamie Bryson told the Community Telegraph: “A few people came down today to protest against |Martin McGuinness.
“While I respect their right to protest, we were here to solely protest on the failures of North Down Borough Council.
“Though I don’t agree with Martin McGuinness’ political ideologies, I respect the fact he came over to talk to us and has made a committment to meet with us to address the problems our community faces.”
Mr Bryson said the Deputy First Minister was prepared to sit around a table and hear the concerns of communities in the borough and promised to will help them in their fight against |injustice.
Alleged council errors in |administrating EU Peace III funding may mean that many |community projects in the area “will be condemned.”
Earlier in the week, around 35 people gathered outside the Town Hall calling for the resignation of the council’s chief executive and town clerk Trevor Polley over the European funding issue.
One of the protesters remarked: “If the chief executive of Northern |Ireland Water is forced out |over serious failings, why |shouldn’t the chief executive of North Down borough council go.”