Sinn Féin Party Group Leader on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council James McKeown has called for an immediate end to the undemocratic exclusion of some nationalist and independent councillors.
Councillor McKeown said:
“The recent move by the DUP and TUV to deny Sinn Féin, SDLP and independent councillors from physically attending the Mid and East Antrim Council meetings is a clear attempt to marginalise the nationalist people and their political representatives.
“Following a challenge by Sinn Féin, the Chief Executive of the Council has now confirmed a Sinn Féin councillor can be present in the chamber, however the SDLP and Independents remain excluded.
“This is simply not good enough. Nationalists will not settle for the crumbs off the table. This is 2020, not 1921.
“The chamber must be inclusive and reflective of all parties in Council. The SDLP and Independents must be allowed to fully fulfil their political mandate as received by the people of Mid and East Antrim.
“This move by Unionist political parties represents a direct attack on democracy and a slap in the face to the electorate.
“Ironically those advancing this undemocratic farce are attempting to misuse the dHondt mechanism, developed to guarantee fairness in the political process, to ensure the Council chamber is reversed exclusively for unionists.
“Sinn Féin will continue to challenge this discriminatory move and to ensure that the Council chamber is reflective of all the people of East and Mid Antrim.”