DUP pair posted on Facebook during key council meeting
TWO DUP council members have been criticised after they posted messages to each other on Facebook during a key debate on Monday night.
Councillor Darryn Causby messaged Councillor Carla Lockhart during an ‘in committee’ session called to discuss the six-month secondment of the Civic Centre’s development officer Olga Murtagh to the NI Victims’ Commission.
Mr Causby posted ‘Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.... Did you ever hear the like of it?’ to Mrs Condell-Lockhart’s wall and her reply was ‘Lol’ (laugh out loud).
Ulster Unionist Colin McCusker and the SDLP’s Joe Nelson described the Facebook exchange as “inappropriate during a serious council debate”. However, the DUP duo insisted it had nothing to do with the council debate, but was a private matter.
Mr McCusker said, “We cannot divulge on what was an ‘in camera’ debate, but it was an important matter, and for two councillors to be indulging in Facebook messages - which look suspiciously like a comment on the debate - shows scant respect to their colleagues.
“I believe the Mayor (the DUP’s Alan Carson) should have a word with them. I received a reprimand at the start of the meeting for telling the local press that Mr Carson had little to say about the loss of 50 jobs in Lurgan (with the closure of BDG Windows) and I challenge him to do the same in this case.”
Councillor Nelson insisted the Facebook exchange was “inappropriate”. He added, “They are younger councillors and I suppose this is their way of communicating. But it shouldn’t have happened during a serious issue, and they would need to pay more attention.”
The messages are timed at 20.47 and 20.48 on the Facebook page, and Mr Causby retorted, “It was nothing to do with council business. This is simply a case of councillors being on their high horse and trying to score cheap points.
“They’d be better served tackling real issues in their constituency, the way the DUP does, that indulging in silly criticism.”
Mrs Condell-Lockhart confirmed, “It had nothing to do with the meeting.”
Councillor Conrad Dixon (Alliance) said, “Whether it was council business or not, it doesn’t seem appropriate to be messaging during a meeting, but I’m part of a working group that is considering the rules of business in councils and the result will be known in due course.”
Mayor Carson commented, “It’s laughable. I’m making no comment on the Facebook messages and taking no action. I haven’t time to study Facebook.”
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