DUP slams council meeting called by Sinn Fein to debate the vote on Syria
A Sinn Fein proposal for a Belfast City Council debate on UK air strikes in Syria has been slammed by the DUP, which noted how the city had suffered from a bombing campaign of a different kind.
Party group leader Jim McVeigh called for a special meeting next week, urging the council it to express its opposition to the yes vote in the House of Commons for air strikes against Isis in Syria.
He wants the council to agree a motion saying: "We the civic leaders of Belfast are opposed to this war and wish to see all governments pursue a vigorous and non-partisan peace process within Syria."
Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Arder Carson has given the go-ahead for the meeting which, is due to take place on Wednesday. However, DUP group leader on the council Brian Kingston blasted Mr Carson's decision.
He said: "It is indisputable that the United Kingdom and other Western countries face a real and present threat from so-called Islamic State terrorism.
"Parliament, which has responsibility for the defence of the nation, has taken the difficult decision to tackle that threat in its power base.
"We, in this part of the United Kingdom, know the terrible suffering and death resulting from terrorism and how that threat must be confronted and downgraded."
Mr Kingston signalled that the DUP would be voting against the Sinn Fein motion.
"The recent decision by Parliament to extend airstrikes against ISIL/Daesh into the territory of Syria was made following extensive deliberation and a full day debate at Westminster," he said.
"It is there, in the House of Commons, our national Parliament, that Sinn Fein should have taken their arguments on this matter, to the elected chamber where matters of defence and foreign policy are decided.
"It is a poor ploy for them to call an extraordinary meeting of Belfast City Council, which has no powers over these matters, having failed to represent the electorate at Westminster."