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SDLP's outrage at Sinn Fein royalist jibe in Jubilee row

By Brendan McDaid

Sinn Fein has sparked outrage after branding the SDLP “royalists” for supporting funding for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

The comment was made after a majority of Limavady councillors this week voted to go ahead with a £20,000 grant for celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee, the Paralympics and the arrival of the Olympic torch in the North West later this year.

Sinn Fein councillor Anne Brolly accused the SDLP of being a royalist party after the development committee meeting.

SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan yesterday branded the statement “disgraceful”.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Brolly said: “At Limavady Council meeting, Sinn Fein moved to limit the amount of ratepayers money that was being allocated towards the Paralympics, the Olympic torch and the British Queen’s Jubilee.

“However we recognised that there are people within this community who would like to celebrate the Jubilee and were prepared to allocate a smaller sum in order to allow those people to organise events.

“This proposal was rejected by the SDLP who voted along with unionist parties to grant a huge amount of ratepayers money to groups who wish to celebrate the Jubilee.”

Mr Mullan, however, accused Sinn Fein of playing “party political games” which would not help relations at a time when the council is trying to resolve the issue of flags flying in the borough.

“At a time when we are trying to reach out across the divide and reach a position where we have a shared space for both communities to live together in harmony, we need to be magnanimous in our generosity towards each other,” he said.

“These party political games are not what I entered politics for. It is a disgrace.”

Background

In England, street party celebrations marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee will outstrip the number staged for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding, the Local Government Association has predicted. East Dorset Council has set up a £30,000 grant fund to help groups celebrating either the Diamond Jubilee or the Olympics.

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