Councillor asks if Queen will be on her birthday fire

Queen Elizabeth II pictured ni Edinburgh on September 9, 2015. (photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)
Queen Elizabeth II pictured ni Edinburgh on September 9, 2015. (photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

The Democratic Unionist Party has expressed outrage after an Independent Councillor asked if the Queen would be placed on a fire to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Councillor Gary Donnelly made the remarks during discussions about the Beacon Scheme to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday on April 21, 2016.

Councillor Gary Donnelly

Councillor Gary Donnelly

In a report brought before the council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee sitting at the Guildhall on Tuesday, Councillors were advised that the official ‘Guide to Taking Part in the Beacon Scheme’ has been forwarded by the Local Government Association, NILGA.

The report stated that a number of local authorities in the north have already joined the project along with 250 local community and other organisations around Britain, UK islands and overseas territories.

It was recommended that officers note the information contained in the guide ahead of the Beacon Lighting Ceremony on April 21. 2016.

The beacon lighting involves inviting the local dignitary such as the Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Mayor or Council leader to light the beacon or run a competition to select someone from the community.

Will she be on it?

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly

Bruno Peek, Pageant Master, writes of the Beacon event in the guide:

“There is a long and unbroken tradition in our country of celebrating Royal jubilees, weddings, coronations and special birthdays with the lighting of beacons.”

However as the beacon matter was raised, Colr. Donnelly asked: “Will she be on it?”

DUP Councillor David Ramsey said he took “great offence” to the suggestion of Her Majesty being on the beacon fire.

DUP Councillor David Ramsey. INLS0914-123KM

DUP Councillor David Ramsey. INLS0914-123KM

Colr. Ramsey also proposed that the Council be asked to look at options for a beacon to mark the Queen’s birthday.

UUP Councillor Derek Hussey proposed that they also liaise with the local Lord Lieutenant of County Londonderry on the matter, and this was incorporated into the proposal.

Following some concerns expressed over the use and impact of bonfires and the policy on this within the council, Colr. Ramsey said he was actually thinking more along the lines of a “gas beacon”.

In a vote on the issue, four councillors voted in favour of the proposal, two against and the rest abstained, resulting in a report on options for a beacon locally being ordered.