Belfast Telegraph

DUP councillor wears band uniform at Belfast City Hall meeting - Sinn Fein want answers

DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst in his band uniform during the council meeting.
DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst in his band uniform during the council meeting.

By Gareth Cross

A Sinn Fein councillor asked for legal advice after his DUP counterpart wore a band uniform during a meeting at Belfast City Hall.

Oldpark councillor Dale Pankhurst was wearing his uniform at the full council meeting on Monday as he was attending the annual Battle of the Somme commemoration parade immediately afterwards.

Sinn Fein group leader Ciaran Beattie raised the issue of how he was dressed in the council chamber.

"A couple of years ago we had a fairly heated debate in this chamber about one member who came in with a football scarf wrapped around them and there's been an agreement since that, that no member should come into the chamber wearing either football material or anything else like that," Councillor Beattie said.

"Even two of our members came in tonight wearing GAA tops and we'd asked them to go and change them, but there's a member tonight in the chamber wearing a bandsman uniform.

"We have legislation in place, we have Section 75, Employment and Equality Regulations 2003, the Fair Employment and Treatment Order, Race Relations Order 1997, so we would just like some legal clarity on where we stand in terms of someone coming in here with a bandsman uniform. "

Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Deidre Hargey said that the issue had been raised earlier and that she had noticed members in GAA tops also and that she thought the issue could be waived for the meeting and enforced in future.

However she said that council would seek legal clarity on the legislation.

A council solicitor said that council had obligations in terms of a "harmonious working environment" but that given what the Mayor had said they would be happy to bring in a report to clarify any issues.

She said there was nothing in the standing orders of council to specifically around the issue.

The annual Somme Memorial parade takes place in south Belfast on July 2nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Memorial parade takes place in south Belfast on July 2nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Memorial parade takes place in south Belfast on July 2nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Memorial parade takes place in south Belfast on July 2nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Dogs Angel, Shadow and Ghost take part in the annual Somme Memorial parade in south Belfast on July 2nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Memorial parade takes place in south Belfast on July 2nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Memorial parade takes place in south Belfast on July 2nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Memorial parade takes place in south Belfast on July 2nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Christopher Stalford takes part in the annual Somme Memorial parade in south Belfast on July 2nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade Belfast - July 2 2018 The annual Battle of Somme Anniversary parade took place in east Belfast on Monday evening, July 2. Large crowds where in east Belfast to watch the longest running Battle of the Somme Anniversary Parade. Many of those watching, like those on parade will have had relatives who served in the Battle and sadly some who died. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 02-07-2018: Belfast : The countrybound lanes on Albertbridge Road, Belfast are closed between junction Ravenhill Road and Short Strand, and Mountpottinger Road and Castlereagh Street to facilitate a policing operation ahead of a parade later this evening. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Pankhurst said he was forced to wear the uniform to the meeting due to time constraints.

"I got changed into my band uniform for purely logistical reasons before I had to leave for the Battle of the Somme Commemoration Parade in east Belfast," Councillor Pankhurst said.

"It would have been impossible for me to get changed prior to the parade and arrive there on time, particularly given the length of the council meeting.

"Prior to the meeting in the dining room next door, Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey approached my Party Group Leader and stated Sinn Féin would not be objecting.

"I was then standing out in the rotunda around five minutes later talking to a fellow councillor and noticed Sinn Fein’s Seanna Walsh and Daniel Baker, who were both wearing GAA tops, walk fast down the stairs towards the car park."

Councillor Pankhurst said he was targeted due to the way he was dressed.

"I thought nothing of it and went into the chamber and took my seat. Five minutes later, Baker and Walsh arrived back in normal clothing. It was at that point I said to my colleagues that I will be pointed out. Low and behold their group leader Ciaran Beattie got up and raised an issue about me wearing a band uniform in the Chamber," he said.

"While the Sinn Fein leadership preaches about respect and tolerance, their councillors can't even tolerate a fellow councillor sitting in the same room as them quietly wearing their band uniform.

"Never mind the music, the very fabric of something that resembles British and Orange culture on this island offends them. We will never be welcome in a united Ireland. Ever."

Responding to Mr Pankhurst's comments a Sinn Fein spokesperson said it was hypocritical of him to talk about respect and tolerance.

“Dale Pankhurst obviously doesn’t do irony, given the DUP’s intolerance and disrespect against whole sections of society such as the LGBT+ community, Irish language speakers, women who need access to healthcare or families who are being denied legacy inquests through the Coroners’ Courts,” the spokesperson said.

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