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DUP anger as UUP splits over Glenariff GAA IRA gates controversy

By Staff Reporter

Published 25/08/2016

Funding row: Mike Nesbitt
Funding row: Mike Nesbitt

DUP councillors have written to UUP leader Mike Nesbitt after his party split in a row over funding for a new community facility amid controversy over IRA tribute gates near the site.

Causeway Coast and Glens Council had approved funding for the facility in Glenariff. But in June it was pulled amid a row over the names of two IRA men appearing on gates that lead into the grounds where the centre is planned - Charlie McAllister and Pat McVeigh, who died in 1922.

Last week the club voted to remove the gates to get the funding back on track. On Tuesday the council approved funding by 19 votes to 18, with the support of six UUP councillors proving crucial. Three other UUP councillors voted against it.

In a letter to Mr Nesbitt, DUP members of the council wrote: "We are fully supportive of initiatives which are designed to improve community relations, but this particular project will have precisely the opposite effect.

"Indeed, it has caused significant divisions of opinion both within the council and the community, and it will inflame community tensions."

They added: "We commend the three UUP councillors who stood with us on this issue, but are frankly disgusted with the six who voted with Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance to support the funding package."

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