Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Limavady mayor: just shut down our council

The Sinn Fein mayor of Limavady has said the borough would be better off if the council shut down and let unelected officials run it if councillors could not agree.

His comments come after a meeting on Tuesday ended in uproar after a unionist councillor brought a Union flag into the chamber.

Sean McGlinchey has been the target of unionist anger since his election because of his role in an IRA car bombing that killed six people in Coleraine in 1973.

Mr McGlinchey said relations at the council were dire and he was taking legal advice over the situation.

"I would say it's one of the worst relationships of a council working anywhere and it has been for a number of years.

"We are supposed to be representing people on issues and that is not happening," he said.

"We need a better working relationship."

He said ratepayers would be better off under an unelected administration.

"My opinion is - and the party's opinion is - the council would be better closing."

He said he was now taking legal advice.

SDLP councillor Michael Coyle described the scenes in the chamber on Tuesday as "shocking and embarrassing".

He said: "There is no doubt Boyd Douglas flouted the policy on flags.

"The Limavady people are the ones who are going to lose out when we are not doing the business we are elected to do.

"The problem here is common sense - some people who were in that chamber need a big injection of that.

"I was thoroughly disgusted. I have been in the council 18 years and that is possibly the worst I have come across."

Boyd Douglas, the TUV councillor at the centre of the row, has rejected an offer of face-to-face talks with the mayor.

A stalemate has now developed with Mr Douglas remaining unrepentant last night, despite possible legal action.

Mr Douglas said he had been approached by council officials attempting to mediate before the council is reconvened.

"I was asked to meet and I said I wouldn't. I am satisfied they've not shown me respect."

He said he had not yet decided whether to return with the flag to next Monday's meeting.

"We will see what next week brings," he said.

"The bottom line is it was Sinn Fein who abandoned this meeting.

"Why was this a big issue? Something is only provocative if you want to be provoked.

"If I went to Donegal I would respect the Tricolour being there. Why can't they do the same for my flag?"

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