A right royal row - Nationalists split in Queen’s Jubilee funding row

A war of words has erupted among nationalist councillors in Limavady over funding for Queen’s jubilee celebrations.

The controversy surrounds a Council decision to provide funding for community groups to apply for grants to celebrate the jubilee.

Sinn Féin councillor Anne Brolly accused the SDLP of being a “royalist party after voting thousands of pounds to celebrate the British Queen’s diamond jubilee”.

Councillor Brolly stated: “At a Limavady Council meeting on Tuesday Sinn Féin moved to limit the amount of ratepayers’ money that was being allocated towards the Paralympics, the Olympic Torch and the British Queen’s Jubilee. We thought that a total of £20,000 was too high given the current economic downturn and the fact that only one community would be celebrating the British Queen’s Jubilee,” she said. “However, we did recognise that there are people within this community who would like to celebrate that event and were prepared to allocate a smaller sum in order to allow those people to organise and enjoy events connected with the Jubilee. This proposal was rejected by the SDLP, who voted along the Unionist parties to grant a huge amount of ratepayers’ money to groups who wish to celebrate the Jubilee.”

But SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle hit back at the accusation and stated Colr. Brolly “has either a very short memory at council meetings or has a selective memory”.

“The SDLP made it quite clear at Tuesday’s meeting that by voting for the budget for the Olympic Torch and Queens Jubilee events did not mean that they supported the idea of monarchy, British or otherwise. The SDLP were actually doing what Sinn Fein only talk about doing with very little evidence of actions. The SDLP were reaching out to those who have a different culture and believe in being British and being ruled over by a Queen,” he said.

“Sinn Fein in their failed motion were also giving money to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, so is Councillor Brolly now saying that Sinn Fein are giving up their republican ideals and are now a royalist party? It must be remembered that this money is the maximum in a budget for both events and, as yet, no decision has been recommended or made in how much money will go to each of the events. I envisage the greater amount being spent in the Olympic Torch event, simply because it is likely that more people will be involved incuding schools and community groups.”

(see page 3 for more coverage of the Council meeting)