DUP councillors have been branded a “disgrace” over a walkout from last nights full council meeting (25th June), just before a vote on the flying of the LGBT rainbow flag in support of Pride 2019.
The motion would have allowed the flying of the rainbow flag for one day at the Cloonavin council building.
DUP Councillor Aaron Callan confirmed this was a last minute addition to the order paper by the Mayor and Sinn Fein which wasn’t listed.
Councillor Callan said Sinn Fein went in the face of Standing Orders by adding the motion to the agenda last minute, leaving his party with no option only to walk out to “bring the meeting to a halt.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Brenda Chivers called it a “disgrace.”
She said: “The DUP walked out so they couldn’t vote to fly the LGBT flag for one day. Disgrace”
The only openly LGBT member of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alliance Councillor Chris McCaw said the “world is changing” and he was “sad and hurt” at the DUPs walk out.
Councillor McCaw said: “Flying a rainbow flag for one day from Council headquarters would be a small yet very significant gesture towards a marginalised community in the Borough.
“Earlier this week, my party successfully convinced Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council to fly a rainbow flag at the end of July for Belfast Pride. The world is changing.”
“We should do everything we can do to show our LGBT family, friends and neighbours that they are respected and valued in our society.
“Pride festivals across Northern Ireland are getting bigger every year, showing the depth of public support for the LGBT community.
“This would have been our council’s opportunity to show that support too.
“I am very sad, and actually quite hurt, that such a large number of my colleagues decided to walk out rather than even discuss the issue.
“I would ask them to consider what message this sends to their LGBT family members, friends and constituents.”
DUP Councillor Aaron Callan said his party regrettably withdrew from the meeting as the last minute addition to the meeting was not acceptable.
He said: “DUP Causeway Borough Group had to regrettably withdraw from June full council meeting because the Mayor and Sinn Fein decided to ride rough shot over the procedure by introducing a last-minute agenda item which not all members were aware of.
“This was not acceptable to us as a group and would fly in the face of Standing Orders.
“Our only course to stop this happening was to walk out and bring the meeting to a halt. This was after already five hours of debate and decision making.”