Republican and Unionist councillors have clashed over a motion that called for congratulations to be sent to the Northern Ireland soccer team after they qualified for the European Championships.
“This is a historic occasion for Northern Ireland as it is our first time in thirty years to qualify for a major tournament”, said the DUP’s Clement Cuthbertson, proposing the motion at Thursday night’s monthly meeting of Mid Ulster Council.
“The squad has strong connections in Mid Ulster with Stuart Dallas, Aaron Hughes, Niall McGinn and Roy Carroll all playing vital roles and we wish the team and manager well as they make their preparations for next summer.
“This is the first time Northern Ireland has qualified for the European Championships and has restored great pride to the team’s loyal fans. It underlines the high standard in our wee country.”
However, Independent Republican Councillor Barry Monteith proposed an amendment to the motion calling on the council to also recognise the achievements of the Republic of Ireland soccer team.
Councillor Cuthbertson refused to support the amendment on the grounds that it referred to another international team that had no connections with the Mid Ulster area.
He accused Republican councillors of ‘trying to hijack a perfectly good motion by making reference to a completely foreign country’. He went on to say that some councillors were determined to cause strife by engaging in point-scoring and political stunts.
Monteith’s amendment was carried by the Sinn Fein and SDLP votes in the chamber