Craigavon’s new Mayor Colin McCusker is remaining tight-lipped after his controversial election as Mayor at Tuesday night’s annual meeting.
The DUP and UUP clashed after the DUP refused to back Mr McCusker for Mayor and Sinn Fein Catherine Seeley took the Deputy’s post.
“I’m Mayor now and will represent all the people,” was all he would say.
But his colleagues, Arnold Hatch and Ronnie Harkness, rushed to his defence, adding their own hard-hitting comments against the DUP reaction during the last annual meeting of Craigavon.
Mr Hatch pointed out that former DUP Mayor Stephen Moutray MLA had last year voted for Sinn Fein`s Mitchel McLaughlin to be principal deputy speaker in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
He added, “The DUP council group, led by Carla Lockhart, sank to new lows on Tuesday night. They were asked to, but refused to back Colin. They wanted the post of Mayor for the fifth year in a row, and if they hadn’t been so greedy, this issue would not have arisen.
“They then scraped the bottom of the barrel by dragging Colin`s late father’s name (Harold McCusker MP) into their hate-filled bile. For anyone to drag the memory of a loved one into the election of Mayor is beneath contempt and we would call on Alderman Carson to withdraw his wholly inappropriate comments.”
DUP group leader Carla Lockhart claimed that “UUP’s childish hatred for the DUP was manifested when they chose to vote for a SF Deputy Mayor rather than supporting my DUP colleague (Darryn Causby)”.
She added, “This is not the first time the UUP group have taken such an approach. A few months ago they also sided with non-unionists and voted against a DUP attempt to increase the number of days the Union Flag flies in the borough. Interestingly the UUP group backtracked on this position once the electorate started to voice their dismay.
“For 25 consecutive years, when the UUP was the largest party in Craigavon, they never supported a DUP Mayor, but now bend over backwards to support Sinn Fein. It is disappointing, but not wholly surprising.”
Ms Seeley said, “This honour is overdue for Sinn Fein who first entered the Civic Centre in 1985. We must look forward, as I have received a cross-community vote. I will work hard for everyone to ensure that Craigavon Borough Council’s final chapter is a peaceful and positive one.”