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Bible play row: Councillors not gagged, insists DUP

BY DAVID WHELAN

Published 01/02/2014

The cast of the Reduced Shakespeare Company's play
The cast of the Reduced Shakespeare Company's play

The DUP has denied that it has gagged its councillors from speaking out over the Bible play row.

Councillors who voiced their opposition to the Reduced Shakespeare Company's play being shown at the Theatre At The Mill in Newtownabbey have gone to ground since the decision to scrap the play was reversed.

After protests at the second sold-out night of the play, party sources in Newtownabbey told the Belfast Telegraph that questions should be put to the party as to why councillors had been quiet on the issue, suggesting that councillors had effectively been gagged.

In a statement the party said: "No DUP councillors have been 'gagged'." It added: "The party made comment following the meeting of Newtownabbey Borough Council on Monday evening and those comments represented a united view of the party."

The Belfast Telegraph went to Newtownabbey to try and speak to councillors who had been openly vocal in opposition to the play.

Neither councillor William Ball nor his wife, councillor Audrey Ball, could be reached at their home, although Mr Ball said he was told everything must go through the DUP Press office.

Billy De Courcy said that he was not prepared to have a conversation reported, stating: "I have said my piece in council, now I want to let the matter rest."

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