Magherafelt Council do U-turn on Castledawson Christmas lights

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Sinn Fein controlled Magherafelt District Council tonight did a U-turn on its threat to withhold Christmas lights from the village of Castledawson in a row over the flying of union flags.

The council decided to lift its block on the lights to Lower Castledawson Community Association (LCCA) and give £200 towards the cost of a Christmas party.

Sinn Fein had wanted a flags policy put in place before allocating the lights to the community group.

However the community group argued that they had no control over the erection of union flags in the village’s main street.

Members heard that an agreement had been reached following discussions between councillors and representatives of the LCCA.

In the agreement, which makes no reference to a flags policy, the LCCA pledges to continue its work “towards the increased standard of life for all residents, regardless of race, creed, religion or culture to ensure there is a future that is shared and enhanced for all residents in Castledawson.”

Speaking outside the meeting, a LCCA told the Mail that they were just relieved to have the matter settled.

“We are very happy with the outcome as we did not know what to expect,” said a spokesperson.

They are now planning to have “a big party at the switch-on” in Castledawson on December 8.