A WAR of words between the DUP and Ulster Unionists on Craigavon Council continued in the aftermath of the recent council meeting.
In a statement, the DUP grouping said they were “absolutely disgusted” at the decision of the UUP group to deny “additional input” into the steering group on the park project.
“Cllr Twyble often advocates proportionality on council but it would appear that this is not the case when it comes to fellow unionists,” said the statement.
“We in the DUP put a proposal forward that would allow all Portadown councillors to sit on the group, along with a member from SDLP and Alliance who have no representatives in Portadown. Such a steering group would have possessed four DUP members, one Ulster Unionist, two Sinn Fein, one SDLP and one Alliance giving a unionist majority which reflects the political make-up of Portadown. Cllr Twyble leader of the UUP grouping on Craigavon in his wisdom backed Sinn Fein’s proposal to have one member from each party which will allow for one DUP, one UUP, one SDLP, one Alliance, and one SF.”
The DUP statement claimed the UUP decision had been “totally despicable” given that 70 per cent of seats in Portadown were taken by unionists.
“The unionist people have been denied a loud voice around the table and in the decision making for the project. Cllr Twyble and his silent colleagues should hang their heads in shame.
“This latest blunder by the UUP comes in the wake of two further notable decisions when Cllr Twyble along with other colleagues could not raise his hand and vote for a fellow unionist Mayor, Cllr Carla Lockhart and more recently in a vote taken to elect Cllr Robert Smith (the only person nominated) to represent Craigavon Borough Council as their Armed Forces Community Advocate on the Northern Ireland Veterans Advisory and Pension Committee.”
Councillor Twyble repeated that it was custom and practice to appoint one member from each political party on such steering groups, as in the current leisure centre project in Brownlow, adding that the Moutray proposal for nine councillors and members of statutory bodies would be impractical.
He added, “I am not going to get involved in a slanging match with Aldermen Moutray and Anderson, but during the earlier process leading up to the bid being submitted to Europe for funding for the park project, a steering group was already in existence for over two years. As my colleague Cllr Ronnie Harkness pointed out on Monday, the DUP representatives were constantly absent from these meetings. It is strange to see them now taking a sudden interest.
“The steering group is only that. It will oversee the progress of the project and will report that progress to council. All decisions about design and programmes will be debated and decided by the full Council.”
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