Sinn Fein bid to light up civic centre to mark Pride Day fails

Cllr Liam Mackle
Cllr Liam Mackle

A Sinn Fein bid to light up Craigavon Civic Centre to mark Pride Day has failed to get unionist backing on Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

SF Cllr Liam Mackle described it as ‘disappointing but not surprising’ that the UUP or DUP voted against the motion to light up the building in the Rainbow Flag on Pride Day and taking part in Belfast Pride.

He said: “We have a diverse community and the onus is on us to ensure we not only represent minority groups such as our LGBT community but that we make them feel valued, included, welcome and safe in our Borough.

“This was an opportunity to send out a message that this borough is a warm and welcoming place where people are respected. Instead we will have investors reading headlines about a backward Borough that can’t bring itself to support our LGBT community.

“Lighting up the civic buildings on Pride Day and an official presence at the pride parade is a forward moving gesture - small but significant - which would send out a clear message that ABC council are here for our LGBT community at a time when they are subject to hate attacks and are left feeling isolated.

“In amending our original motion of flying the flag we were recognising that some parties are on a journey with regards to this particular issue. Other unionist councillors have supported similar motions in other councils.”

DUP Group Leader Cllr Mark Baxter accused Sinn Fein of ‘blatant electioneering’ adding: “The parade Sinn Fein refer to has had some very distasteful overtones against the DUP and our group could not support this motion. Also to insist the council corporately take part in the parade raises a great many issues which have not been fully considered and could not be fully considered on the night.”