There were ill-tempered exchanges between the mainstream parties and the independent bloc on Derry City & Strabane District Council during a debate on recent violence in the city at its monthly meeting on Thursday.
The division occurred when Independent councillor, Gary Donnelly, said he wanted to “put on record his surprise” that those councillors who had been “most vocal” in their condemnation of the recent violence in the Bogside were less forthcoming in proposing motions of condemnation of violence occuring in unionist areas of the Waterside.
This was rejected by DUP Alderman, Drew Thompson, who said it was interesting to hear Colr. Gary Donnelly raising the matter given the fact that he had always refrained from condemning violence when given the opportunity to do so in the past.
Ald. Thompson went on to propose a motion of condemnation of recent attacks in the Waterside and asked for councillors’ votes to be recorded.
Prior to the vote being put to the floor, Independent councillor, Sean Carr, attempted to amend Ald. Thompson’s motion to include a condemnation of all of the violence that had occurred in the city from the commencement of the ‘Troubles’ up until the present time.
Colr. Carr said he was proposing the amendment as a councillor who had never shied away form condemning violence.
However, it being ruled that Colr. Carr’s amendment would amount to a separate motion Ald. Thompson’s motion was put and passed with the support of Sinn Féin, the SDLP,the DUP, the UUP and the Independents, Sean Carr, Maurice Devenney, Patsy Kelly.
Independents Gary Donnelly, Paul Gallagher, Darren O’Reilly and Warren Robinson, meanwhile, all abstained from the vote.