SDLP Local Government spokesperson Colum Eastwood MLA has said that a Petition of Concern deployed by the DUP in relation to the powers of new councils to ‘call-in’ contentious issues is a failed attempt to backtrack on power sharing.
Mr Eastwood said: “The regulations introduced by the Environment Minister today follow on from the local government bill which gives local councils the power to ‘call in’ issues which will have an adverse impact on minority communities.
“Since its inception, the SDLP has championed protections for the rights of minority communities and this is a reflection of that commitment.
“It’s clear that the DUP have suddenly woken up and realised that they agreed to legislation which embeds the principles of power sharing in local government. They cannot backtrack on that commitment now.
“Some parties are used to getting their own way in councils on issues like flags. The protections that we have ensured are enshrined in primary legislation will now help stop any one party enforcing their will on minorities. The DUP are late to the game in trying to reverse that.”