Councillors at war over memorial

Mark Baxter.
Mark Baxter.

Two unionist councillors are taking legal advice after a ‘heated exchange’ during a discussion on amendments to Portadown War Memorial.

A motion had been put forward last week by an Ulster Unionist councillor who wished to update the names on the War Memorial.

The DUP wanted to amend the motion and, during a debate, it was decided there should be a short recess so the parties could agree on the wording.

However, during the recess, a heated exchange erupted between Ulster Unionist Cllr Glenn Barr and DUP Cllr Mark Baxter. Both councillors have accused the other of unbefitting behaviour

Cllr Barr admitted that he had used some foul language during the exchange.

In a statement he said there had been a ‘very heated dispute’ during a recess in a council meeting.

“There had been a discussion on a motion brought forward by my party colleague Cllr Julie Flaherty on names being added to the War Memorial and the DUP had requested an amendment.

“However, this was unsuitable and the recess was to give us time to come to an agreement on the motion.

He said he was upset at what he felt was “the aggressive stance taken by DUP Cllr Mark Baxter”.

Cllr Barr said, “I felt that his actions were unbecoming of a councillor.”

“I have consulted my solicitor about the incident.”

For his part Cllr Baxter said, “Councillor Glenn Barr used obscene language towards me in the presence of other councillors. I think such behaviour is unbefitting for an elected representative.”

He said he would be taking legal advice about statements made following the meeting.