“Lisburn is still firmly stuck in the dark ages as a fiefdom for the DUP and bigotry”

This week’s Ulster Star cover story proclaims:

Bigotry ‘alive and well’ on city council

‘Bigotry and discrimination are alive and well on Lisburn City Council’, it has been claimed in the wake of the Council’s Annual General Meeting.

Both the Alliance Party and Sinn Fein have hit out after the DUP took the two top posts on Council – with the deputy mayor’s election particularly contentious.

Ulster Star BigotryLisburn City Council tends to follow the pattern of allowing this year’s deputy mayor to become the first citizen the next year. So 2012/13 mayor William Leathem (DUP) handed over his chain of office to 2012/13 deputy Margaret Tolerton (DUP) who became the 2013/14 mayor. And another DUP councillor – Andrew Ewing – became the new 2013/14 deputy mayor and the next in line for the big job next June.

That would be three DUP mayors in a row, and seven DUP mayors in ten years.

Unlike many other councils – and unlike the NI Executive and NI Assembly – Lisburn City Council does not use d’Hondt* to allocate council jobs.

The current strength of the parties is shown (figures in brackets show the strength immediately after the last election):

  • DUP 15 (14)
  • Sinn Fein 4 (5)
  • UUP 4 (5)
  • Alliance 3
  • SDLP 3 (3)
  • Independent 1 (0)

Quoted in Julie-Ann Spence’s article in the Ulster Star, Sinn Fein Councillor Arder Carson pointed out that at the AGM his party had been “denied any formal positions” for 2013/14 and “the DUP on the other hand have awarded themselves 10 out of the 12 official council positions”.

With Sinn Fein councillors first voted onto Lisburn Council in 1985, after nearly three decades of participation no Sinn Fein councillor has held the position of mayor or deputy mayor. And in that time the party has only ever chaired two council committees, one in 2011 and another in 2012.

Given the DUP’s near control of the council, do they have any reason to bow to letsgetalongism and include other parties?

The first paragraph of Lisburn City Council’s Equality Policy does state that under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (the Act), the council is required to comply with two statutory duties:

Section 75 (1) – In carrying out our functions relating to Northern Ireland we are required to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity between

persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation

men and women generally

persons with a disability and persons without

persons with dependants and persons without.

Section 75 (2) – In addition, without prejudice to the obligations above, in carrying out our functions in relation to Northern Ireland we are required to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group. [emphasis added]

The current land grab seems well outside the spirit of promoting equality of opportunity and promoting good relations between the parties on council.

Given the election of five Sinn Fein councillors in 2011 – before Councillor Angela Nelson quit the party in July 2012 over Martin McGuinness’ handshake with the Queen [though she is still listed on the West Belfast Sinn Fein website!] – Arder Carson reckons:

… had d’Hondt been enacted, the party would be entitled to the position of Chair and Vice Chair of a committee each year, along with one year as Mayor of Lisburn.

Instead the DUP seem to throw an occasional bone to the UUP, Alliance and even the SDLP, while keeping Sinn Fein out of power.

Back in May 2011, just before the SDLP councillor Brian Heading was voted in as Mayor, Sinn Fein councillor Arden Carson unsuccessfully raised the question of using d’Hondt. No doubt Sinn Fein’s nose was out of joint given that the smaller SDLP was getting a crack at the mayor’s job. Council minutes note:

At this juncture Councillor A Carson proposed that prior to consideration of the business on the agenda for the Annual Meeting of Council, the Council introduce formally the D’Hondt system for the appointment of positions on the Council.

Councillor S P Porter (Outgoing Mayor) stated that as Councillor A Carson’s proposal had not been submitted as a Notice of Motion to the Council prior to the Meeting, the proposal could not be considered.

Up on the hill, DUP will share power with Sinn Fein with hardly any grated teeth on show. On Belfast City Council, the DUP benefit from using d’Hondt to share out council positions throughout the council term. In Lisburn, the DUP seemingly hoard positions and wield power, a bit like a child grabbing all the toys and unwilling to play with its peers.

It’s not only Alliance, SDLP and Sinn Fein councillors that lose out on official council positions. The DUP’s fellow unionist brethren – the UUP – do badly in the mayoral stakes too. So it is perhaps notable that UUP councillor Brian Bloomfield voted in favour last week of the Alliance nomination along with SDLP ex-mayor Brian Heading.

Another UUP councillor Ronnie Crawford abstained as did SDLP councillors John Drake and Pat Catney (who was later ‘allowed’ to be chair of Corporate Service Committee).

Quoted in the Ulster Star, Alliance councillor Brian Dornan expressed his disappointment:

… that yet again the DUP have refused to accept power sharing in Lisburn Council. They have no problems with it at the Assembly so why can’t they agree to it in Lisburn?

Given that the Ulster Star headline was a quote from Sinn Fein councillor Arder Carson rather than Alliance’s Brian Dornan, the choice of photograph on the front cover is unfortunate.

Arder Carson was forthright in Sinn Fein’s press release:

While other councils across the north are moving forward such as Banbridge and Coleraine, Lisburn is still firmly stuck in the dark ages as a fiefdom for the DUP and bigotry.

Is this the politics of panic? Revenge over the flag issue? Bullying? Discrimination? Or naked sectarianism?

Speaking to me last night, Arden Carson said he planned to pursue the potential breach of the council’s equality policy and summed up the city:

Lisburn is a unionist council for unionist people and a city of political discrimination!

Surely time for Lisburn’s DUP councillors to start listening to their party leader’s words about Cohesion, Sharing and Integration. Those three words seem in short supply inside the Lisburn council chamber.

* Back in November 2008 – and against the advice of the Council’s chief executive – it did suddenly switch to use d’Hondt to allocate seats to parties on the Castlereagh/Lisburn Transition Committee. Given the small number of seats, this change of practice excluded the SDLP from representation on the committee. The Equality Commission found that the Council had “unilaterally and without consultation decided to forgo its previous policy, arrived at through equality impact assessment” and recommended that it apply its agreed policy which “[promoted] social inclusion”.


  • Morpheus

    “I fully respect your right to want to change that but you cannot impose that or suggest that we don’t have a right to retain it if we wish”

    Has this not been covered like a million times – the future of NI will be democratically decided by the majority. If the majority vote to remain in the Union then that’s what will happen. If the majority vote for an independent Northern Ireland then that’s what will happen. If the majority in Northern Ireland and ROI vote for a united Ireland then that’s what’s will happen.

    Where everyone sits on those 3 options is up for debate but one thing is for certain, the links with Britain will remain.

  • boondock

    tacapal, In 1920 5 Irish republican members of Sinn Fein signed the Anglo Irish Treaty and agreed to partition.

    Now now GEF dont make it sound like they signed it thinking it was the deal of the century they signed it because it was the only deal on offer and the alternative/threat was a little unpalatable secondly they thought (naively) that they could change things politically in a short time frame. The good Friday agreement was something for all to celebrate although few probably would have foreseen such little progress. Who knows what future agreements we may have in place a generation or 2 down the line.

  • GEF

    Now now GEF: ……………”secondly they thought (naively) that they could change things politically in a short time frame. ”

    Now now boondock, is that not what SF believed would happen after the signing of the 1998 GFA? The one positive results for Unionists after the 1998 agreement compared to the 1920 AIT was the change in articles 2 &3 by the Irish government.

  • tacapall


    On the vote for the act of the Union

    “Sir John Parnell, by Plunkett, and by all the more prominent members of the opposition. After a debate which lasted nearly twenty-two hours, a division was called, and the numbers were found to be equal; another fierce struggle, and this time the Government were beaten by five; thus the proposal for the time was lost”

    Did the British listen to the Irish people then GEF –

    “Not for long though. Pitt had thoroughly made up his mind, and was bent on carrying his point to a successful issue. Most of those who had voted against the Union were dismissed from office, and after the prorogation of Parliament, the Government set to work with a determination to secure a majority before the next session. There was only one means o] effecting this, and that means was now employed. Eighty-five boroughs–all of which were in the hands of private owners–would lose their members if a Union were passed, and all these, accordingly, it was resolved to compensate, and no less than a million and a quarter of money was actually advanced for that purpose, while for owners less easily reached by this means peerages, baronetcies, steps in the peerage, and similar inducements, were understood to be forthcoming as an equivalent.

    That the sale of parliamentary seats–so shocking to our reformed eyes–was not regarded in the same light at the date of the Irish Union is certain, and in questions of ethics contemporary judgment is the first and most important point to be considered. The sale of a borough carried with it no more necessary reprobation then than did the sale of a man, say, in Jamaica or Virginia. Boroughs were bought and sold in open market”

    Im sure now you understand where Im coming from when I say the only way for the Irish people to achieve self determination is to make it as financially draining as possible on the crown or to bankrupt the country.

    You will note the differences in how five people dont make a difference in one instance but do in another.

    No-one said you weren’t allowed to or retain that wish if you like but its not me imposing it on you. On the issue of the crown and who they actually are Cynic, do you even know who the crown is, do you believe Mrs Windsor and her family are the crown.

    What historical agreements do you stick to when it comes to the monarchy, just the ones you like ?


  • GEF

    tacapall, take your gripe about The Crown to the European Court Of Human Rights (like many republicans enjoy doing) informing them as an Irish Republican you believe it is unfair anti Catholic and totally undemocratic that Mrs Windsor rules over Northern Ireland when she does not even live here.

  • tacapall

    GEF I think your another who doesn’t know exactly who the crown is, Inner City London, The Vatican, District of Columbia, you should really read up on history before you tell us to go to the district management of a multi national corporation like the European court of human rights. Should we not go to The International Court of Justice although these are the same people who divvied out the spoils of the last war and unfortunately the British have a permanent seat on that council too. Dont think that will work either.

    Dont have aclue what your on about with the anti catholic remark as Im not even religious just pointing out the meaning of the term Perfidious Albion.

  • GEF

    “Dont have aclue what your on about with the anti catholic remark as Im not even religious just pointing out the meaning of the term Perfidious Albion.”

    And here was silly old me thinking your main gripe was not just for yourself but you were speaking on behalf of other Irish Catholics who view the Queen of England as sectarian and discriminative because of the 1701 “Act of Settlement”

    “Anyone who becomes a Roman Catholic, or who marries a Roman Catholic, becomes disqualified to inherit the throne under the Act of Settlement.”


  • tacapall

    GEF thats not something I dont already know, the problem for most republicans, well where im coming from anyway and the vast majority of Irish people, is the Act of the Union, all that mumbo jumbo about Catholics not being able to become king or queen is fairytale stuff for bigots, can you tell me what church Mrs Windsor is head of and – Is it Catholic or Protestant.

  • GEF

    “all that mumbo jumbo about Catholics not being able to become king or queen is fairytale stuff for bigots, can you tell me what church Mrs Windsor is head of and – Is it Catholic or Protestant.”

    Sorry tacapall, it seems you are the one who is living in cloud cuckoo land. Its 100% fact that 50 Roman Catholics who bore closer blood relationships to the deceased Queen Anne in 1708 were prohibited from inheriting the British throne because of the “Act of Settlement 1701”


  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you for making that clear GEF, but its even worse! As all 17th century laws in the Stuart Kingdoms required that the royal seal and the Kings signature be affixed to make them legally binding, and as James II did not in any sense ratify the actions of the convention parliament, nor did he ratify Dutch William’s “appointment” as “King,” the Monarchy and Parliament in England, Ireland, Scotland and little Wales have been functioning illegally since 1688/9, even within their own terms of reference.

    God Bless the King, I mean the Faith’s Defender
    God Bless, no harm in Blessing, the Pretender
    But who Pretender is, and who is King
    God bless us all, that’s quite another thing.

    Actually, the King of Ireland should really be an O’Neill, but that’s quite another thing, too.

  • GEF

    Instead of ratifying his brother in Law the Prince of Orange King James 11 did a runner to France after he changed his religious belief to Catholic having married his 2nd wife Mary of Modena who bore him a son James Francis Edward Stewart on 10th June 1688. He became known as (The Old pretender).

  • tacapall

    GEF are you going to answer the question – Is the curch Mrs Windsor head of Catholic or Protestant?

    Here’s an interesting book you should read ,historical fact, try chapter two out first. –

    How the Warlike Old Irish Conquered Foreign Lands


  • SeaanUiNeill

    James withdrew under threat of his life from utterly unscrupulious men.”The only way kings leave captivity is the walk to the scaffold.” The actions of the Dutch Dwarf and the Convention Parliament did not become anymore legal by his refusing to be their prisoner. The simple reality is that nothing done by English governments since Jan 1688(os)/89(ns) has been legal (de jure) although it has been in force (de facto). Depends how you feel about the importance of law.

    James’s real fault in the eyes of vested interests was that he offered a completely even handed approach to all his people, of whatever religion, but such equality will always be unwelcome to some. Plus ça change……..

    Thanks tacapall, for the posts and for the link to P.W Joyce! renan defined a nation as a collection of people (not a race, note!) who share a culture and having done great and important things together before, wish to do things together again.

  • Barnshee

    “GEF are you going to answer the question – Is the curch Mrs Windsor head of Catholic or Protestant”

    The head of state is also head of the Church of England (a member of the westminster confession see

    Tthe Creed used by the COE also refers to the ” holy catholic Church” which translates as ” universal”church

    It is thus impossible to be a Roman Catholic, .be the monarch and also be head of the COE

    Its a bit like asking that other head of state -the pope

    A to separate out his head of state from his religious post concentrate on the relligion aspect and allow others a crack at the the top post or

    B pass on the religious position and concentrate on state dutie

  • tacapall

    Your welcome Seaan, indeed the slave traders and investors of that time, some who’s families offspring even now are members of government or influential politicians who’s ancestors conspired against their own king and committed treason against their own country by handing over the sovereignty and its wealth to foreign investors.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    GEF, while I have no desire to hog the thread, I must just return to offer you some help by correcting one serious mistake. As I don’t seem to have heard of a James the eleventh, I assume you are talking about James the second. However, the proper convention is to use Roman numerals, ie: ii, or II.

    One confession, in my own lazyness I failed to designate the last “de jure” king actually reigning in Great Britian and Ireland as “James II of England and Ireland, and VII of Scotland.” His son was James III and VIII, and his grandsons were Charles III and Henry IX and I. After 1807 the legitemate line continued in their closest relitives. The present King is Francis II, the Duke of Baveria, see:


    So for any person who is a serious Royalist, Mrs. Windsor is not actually the Queen, and her son, admirable as his record is on many issues such as ecology and religious tolerance, will not actually be Charles III (or IV) in any meaningful sense.

    And please don’t feel you need to thank me in any way, I’m always happy to assist in extending anyone’s education.

  • tacapall

    “It has been already related in our Histories of Ireland, and need not be repeated in detail here, how these colonists ultimately mastered the country, over which their first king, Fergus, ruled; how they gave Scotland its name; how the subsequent kings of Scotland were the direct descendants of Fergus; and how from him again, through the Stuarts, descend, in one of their lines of pedigree, our present royal family”

    From the link above Seaan I supplied to GEF.

  • PaddyReilly

    Lisburn is a very Protestant and very Unionist ‘City’. Consequently I don’t see that there should be a problem about treating it separately to the rest of (Northern) Ireland. But areas like Glenavy and Dunmurry Cross should not have to put up with this, so it would be better to transfer them to Antrim or Belfast.

    Either we have to 1 die 2 move 3 change our culture and identity ie be ethnically cleansed whether physically or spiritually

    We all have to die. The EU was founded on the principle of the free movement of labour. Anyone who depends on the state for their income, whether as an employee or on benefits, must be prepared to move or lose their income. This is more true in the UK than in the Irish Republic.
    The same holds for people who work for firms with branches in more than one location.

    As for changing culture and identity, the problem seems to be that some NI Protestants have adopted an excessively political identity, which is in the long term not sustainable.

    In England there are plenty of Catholics, but no Jacobites. There is no law against forming Jacobite clubs, it is just that the whole enterprise is so silly that no English Catholics bother to do so. Equally in a hypothetical United Ireland of the future there would be Protestants but no Unionists. As there is absolutely no prospect of the British reoccupying a colony that they have already given up, especially one as useless and absurd as NI, the movement has no credibility. Perhaps Lisburn would survive as an area where it is permitted to fly Union flags, or incorporate the Union Flag into its escutcheon, rather as Hawaii has, but that’s all.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Yes, tacapal pretty hard for the Ulster Scots to have to discover that they are really just the same as us after all. Feel free to rub it in. This is why the late Breandán Ó Buachalla’s “Aisling Ghéar”s first chapter is called “James our true King”, about the 17th century belief that James was just another Milesian! Alas, Mrs Windsor is a little further away from the direct line than Francis II.

    Anyway, the point I was really trying to make is that the entire edifice rests on force and lies, and the biggest joke is that British justice sits on one big fib.

    Actually, PaddyReilly, there are quite a few Jacobites in England, active and otherwise. And lots more in Scotland. You’re just not looking in the right places. And I know of at least one “Amen” glass in Ireland, handed down in a family.

    But as I said above, if we’re going to look for a King of Ireland there are quite a few O’Neills with continious bloodlines from Conn Bacach, and earlier.

    But seriously, the very real issue is that we are developing what David crookes called “one party rule in two seperate feifdoms” in the form of Block vote councils and the OFMdFM plenary executive. Whe needs to import a king, legal or otherwise, when we have the Brothers Grim.

  • PaddyReilly

    The Scottish Jacobite Party was a joke. One of its policies was moving the border southwards to include Tyneside football clubs in the Scottish Premier League. It won a respectable 300 odd votes and then de-registered.

    English Jacobitism is even less high profile. It has not even inspired a Social Club or Friendly Society, let alone a political movement.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    PaddyReilly, good grief, man, lighten up! I’m not asking you to sign on the dotted line or die for KIng Francis, I’m asking you to consider the delightful irony that the entire edifice of Law and Order, starting with Westminister, is actually foundationless, de jure. Of course it changes nothing, for “they have got the maxim gun/and we have not” (even before decommissioning, really) but it is rather amusing…..

    And there are still a lot of Jacobites dotted everywhere who relish the irony.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Only a few of them Catholic…..

  • daytona600NI

    To Alan / Ards

    It is bigotry when a Councillor such as Kieran McCarthy is the only Councillor still standing after 25 years service who HASNT been voted mayor of Ards. 8 times he was rejected before giving up as a Councillor and switching to an MLA. There were even Councillors who had been Mayor for a 2nd time.

  • Barnshee

    “It is bigotry when a Councillor such as Kieran McCarthy is the only Councillor still standing after 25 years service who HASNT been voted mayor of Ards. 8 times he was rejected before giving up as a Councillor and switching to an MLA. There were even Councillors who had been Mayor for a 2nd time.”

    It that old democracy thing you know majority voting thing like voting to put up/remove flags Ahahahah