A DUP councillor grouping has officially ‘called-in’ a decision to fly the Pride flag above civic buildings in the Borough.
A Sinn Fein motion to erect the flag on various Council properties on Saturday for Pride squeezed passed a council vote earlier last Monday night.
However, the DUP say they are exercising their “democratic right” to have the process scrutinised, which will mean seeking legal advice on the decision.
The DUP Councillor Group released a joint statement: “The DUP grouping on ABC Council firmly believes that due process has not been followed in bringing this motion to the Council and we have exercised our democratic right to have the process by which this decision was arrived at scrutinised.
“There are strict guidelines around flags and emblems and we believe the Council has went against its own policies in this regard by failing to carry out equality screening, public consultation and impact assessments on the matter.
“There has been a lack of discussion around the implications of the decision to fly the flag which requires consideration over an appropriate time period.
“This is why in our original comments we referred to the motion and it’s presentation to council as haphazard.
“The powers being utilised by the DUP on ABC Council are legitimate and open to all councillor groupings and we will be interested in the findings of the subsequent inquiries into these matters.”
Sinn Fein councillor Darren McNally, who proposed the original motion, said: “Moves by the DUP to call in Sinn Féin’s motion to fly the rainbow flag at civic buildings across the area is disgraceful and disrespectful to our LGBTQ+ community.
“This call in came in the final hour – and is an effort to run down the clock on gaining legal advice and securing a special meeting of the council before Saturday.
“It is further evidence of their continued denial of rights enjoyed by citizens elsewhere on this island and in Britain.
“This motion was submitted following full and correct procedures and there is absolutely no adverse impact from flying the rainbow flag.
“We are calling on the Chief Executive to immediately get legal advice and call a special meeting of the council for Friday to ensure the flying of the flag is not unnecessarily delayed.”
Party colleague and former Lord Mayor Gareth Keating said it was “hugely dissapointing, although not altogether surprising”.
He accused the DUP of “attempting to suppress the democratic will of the council in such a distasteful manner”.
Said Cllr Keating: “This small but symbolic gesture was planned to show support for an important section of our community, people who enrich the diversity of our society massively and who contribute so positively to our council area.
“The initiative had indeed been welcomed far and wide right across society as a positive gesture of goodwill in that regard.
“What message does this action by the DUP now send out to those people? That their sense of identity and expression is not worthy of being celebrated even in such a small manner in their eyes.
“Most reasonably thinking people here will wonder what possible harm or offence a rainbow flag being displayed for one day could possibly cause?
“It is another shameful but typical act of intolerance and supremacy on the part of the DUP.”