Belfast Telegraph

SF's no-show at Somme meeting was an 'oversight'

By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein has said it missed an official Somme commemoration in Belfast because of an "administrative oversight".

The DUP had criticised the failure of all 19 of Sinn Fein's councillors to turn up for the special meeting to mark the 101st anniversary of the First World War battle at the weekend.

Sinn Fein councillors have attended the special yearly meeting in recent years.

But councillor Deirdre Hargey said: "The absence of Sinn Fein councillors from this year's special meeting was down to an administrative oversight on our part."

The party refused to expand on her statement which followed criticism from former Lord Mayor Brian Kingston, who officiated alongside Sinn Fein members at last year's centenary meeting.

Mr Kingston said it was a "poor show" by Sinn Fein.

As well as unionist and Alliance councillors, the SDLP's Tim Attwood was present, along with Secretary of State James Brokenshire, Irish government representative Helen McEntee and representatives from the main churches.

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