Tempers flare as mayor selected
The DUP in Newtownabbey has been accused of abusing its power after a new mayor was elected in the borough this week.
Alliance Councillor Tom Campbell made the accusation at Newtownabbey Borough Council’s annual general meeting on Monday night, when Paula Bradley of the DUP was elected as the first citizen.
Independent Councillor Tommy Kirkham will be the deputy mayor.
Councillor Campbell said: “There will be many who will view this opportunistic voting arrangement with dismay and concern and who may believe that the DUP has sold its soul and whatever remaining principles it once had for a few council positions for its members.
“I suspect that the DUP will come to bitterly regret this association.
“The DUP selfishly abused its majority to seek almost all positions for themselves and the remainder for other unionists and by engaging in this toxic voting arrangement it has done so also to exact revenge on those who would dare to criticise that party and because of its humiliation by Alliance at the hands of the voters of east Belfast.
“It is particularly shocking that at no time did the DUP engage in meaningful dialogue with Alliance or the SDLP in its attempt to accrue a few extra DUP senior council positions.
“The exclusion of non unionists in the council is deeply damaging to community relations in the borough and makes a mockery of the council’s ‘Good Relations’ scheme which is to have regard to and seek to accommodate good relations between those of different races, religious beliefs, and political opinions to name but a few examples.”
However the DUP’s Alderman Paul Girvan said Alliance had held a number of top positions in the council “despite at one time only having two members”.
“This rant doesn’t even warrant a response.
“The attitude and approach of Alliance has done nothing but to create a temperature and discord in the council,” Alderman Girvan added.
The DUP took the chair and vice chair of the six different committees with the exception of the vice chair of the Audit committee which went to Alliance Councillor Lynn Frazer.