A DUP representative was left fuming after claiming to have been ‘silenced’ due to a ‘bigoted sectarian agenda’ at Mid Ulster Council.
Councillor Clement Cuthbertson made the allegation after he was barred from bringing a motion calling for Mid Ulster Council to fly the Union flag to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday.
Usually motions are introduced by councillors and then debated before the chamber takes a vote on whether or not to pass them.
However, at Thursday evening’s monthly meeting of the council, Sinn Fein Councillor Ronan McGinley proposed that the chamber should not discuss the motion and instead move straight to a vote since it contravened the council policy on flag flying.
It meant that Councillor Cuthbertson was prevented from speaking on the issue, a move which threatened to spark a furore. The motion was then turned down by the Sinn Fein and SDLP majority on the council.
“We have once again witnessed blatant sectarian discrimination against the minority Unionist population of Mid Ulster”, said Councillor Cuthbertson.
“My tabled motion calling on our council to recognise and mark Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, by the flying of the Union Flag on all MUDC buildings on 11th June, in line with the government’s designated days for the flying of the Union flag, was not even allowed to be brought to the floor.
“During the meeting I was prevented by the SF Chair of the Council from moving the motion or speaking on it.
“This undemocratic, discriminatory action ignores the mandate I have as an elected representative on the Mid Ulster Council to speak and act on behalf of my constituents.
“It was, I believe, part of a premeditated move by both nationalist parties, united to silence anyone who dares to differ from their bigoted, sectarian agenda. Such silencing in the past was attempted by the bullet and the bomb, tonight it was attempted by the open abuse of a public office. This is not my understanding of a shared society which we are all suppose to be part of.”