Councillors clash after funeral scenes

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Councillors in Derry have clashed over the scenes witnessed at the wake and funeral of the mother of Hunger Striker Pasty O’Hara.

DUP Councillor Maurice Devenney had unsuccessfully attempted to have standing orders suspended to discuss the scenes which followed Peggy O’Hara’s death at the full council meeting this week.

Mr Devenney said he wanted to discuss what he called “despicable scenes” of “guns on our streets” and “masked men and women”.

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly- whose own home was raided this week- questioned whether the Colr. Devenney was referring to house raids carried out by the PSNI over recent days.

Colr. Devenney responded that the PSNI would be discussed in relation to the failure to deal with the masked people at the funeral.

Independent Councillor Paul Gallagher said there was no value in repeatedly suspending standing orders at every meeting, and urged the council to move on.

Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Fleming said that his party would not be supporting the suspension. He said that a cross-party meeting with police suggested by the DUP to discuss attacks locally several weeks back had taken place on Tuesday. The DUP, he said, had “sat and never opened their mouths” on the issues around the wake and funeral they were now raising.

UUP Councillor Derek Hussey and DUP Councillor Thomas Kerrigan both responded that these particular issues were not relevant to what was being discussed at that meeting with the PSNI.

The SDLP said they would back the suspension, but it was still defeated by 18 voted to 17, and there was clarity from the senior Council staff who said that there had to be agreement from 80% of councillors present to suspend.