Council divided over efficacy of restored Stormont regime

The ability of a resurrected Stormont to address various issues was the subject of contention at the October meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 9:07 am

The need, or otherwise, of reestablishing a power-sharing Assembly and Executive, was debated during the course of several items of business at the Guildhall on Thursday.

These included notices of motion on the local health service and the environment.

During a debate on a motion on whether or not to call for the banning of the release of Chinese lanterns and balloons, SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney said the DUP should “be encouraging their party leadership to get into serious negotiations to get the Executive reformed so we can deal with this and other outstanding pressures that are affecting people throughout the North”.

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly, an avowed critic of the dormant power-sharing regime at Stormont, quipped: “I don’t know whether the mention of balloons was what put into Colr. Tierney’s mind about the Executive but on a more serious note I’ve no problem with the original motion and the danger of balloons.”

DUP Alderman Maurice Devenney, referring to last week’s impromptu sitting of Stormont, said: “The DUP were back at Stormont on Monday. I have listened to the SDLP calling across this chamber for the Assembly to be reformed and set up again. Monday the DUP were there. Sinn Féin didn’t appear. The SDLP appeared for a while and then walked out again. So they are nearly treading in the same footpath as Sinn Féin: walk out.”

People Before Profit Colr. Eamonn McCann asked: “In the opinion of members is there any subject under the sun that will not attract a comment from this Council or from somebody around the North that we have to get Stormont up and running again to solve this particular problem?”

The Mayor, Councillor Michaela Boyle said: “I agree and, as I said, keep the remarks to the motion.”