The SDLP have said the party will be dealing with an apparent internal rift after one of its Derry-Strabane Councillors said the party should be ashamed of itself.
A party spokesman in Belfast was repsonding after Councillor Sean Carr said his own party should be ashamed of itself in a shocking twist at the historic first annual general meeting of the new Derry City & Strabane District Council last Thursday.
Speaking just days ahead of the new supercouncil becoming the official local authority tomorrow, Sean Carr publicly poured scorn on the way he has been treated by his party over recent times.
Hundreds of people who had gathered to witness and celebrate Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion be named Mayor of Derry & Strabane and DUP Councillor Thomas Kerrigan installed as her deputy witnessed the episode unfold from the public gallery and via a large screen erected in the Main Hall of Derry’s Guildhall on Thursday night.
A spokesman for the SDLP told the Journal this week:
“The SDLP is aware of issues raised by Colr. Carr at the Derry and Strabane Council Annual General Meeting and the party will be dealing with these matters through the appropriate channels.”
Colr. Carr spoke out after around 70 positions on council committees and bodies were divided out among the various council factions and individuals.
He had asked council’s outgoing chairman Maolíosa McHugh whether- in light of his own party failing to nominate him for a single position on any of the bodies- there was any legislation by which he could ask for a review of this.
A legal advisor to the council was asked for his opinion and responded that the legislation does not provide for anything other than the parties making the nominations.
Colr Carr replied: “So it’s OK for the SDLP to try to take my votes, my nominations- the same party that tried to stop me getting elected.”
Colr. Carr then began to chart how he felt his party had treated him but was cut off by Colr. McHugh, who said that the Derry SDLP Councillor was raising what was, in effect, an internal matter for his party.
Colr. Carr, when the subject was raised of whether he was still a member of the SDLP said he was “very much so”, but added shortly afterwards: “Shame on the SDLP”.
The statement was met with stunned silence from some in the council chamber, and came just moments before Colr. McCallion made her way to the Main Hall to deliver her Mayoral address.