Sinn Fein’s use of a council building for campaign launch ‘broke the rules’ says Lord Morrow

Ranfurly Arts Centre in Dungannon
Ranfurly Arts Centre in Dungannon

A DUP peer has heavily criticised the use of a council facility by Sinn Fein to launch a political campaign.

MLA Maurice Morrow accused the party of ‘riding roughshod’ over a good relations principle by hosting MP Michelle Gildernew’s election launch at Ranfurly House Arts and Visitor’s Centre.

Lord Morrow, DUP

Lord Morrow, DUP

“There is no excusing this breach of protocol and I have raised this with the Minister as a matter of urgency.

“Had the shoe been on the other foot, they would have likewise and with much ferocity”, he said.

“Just weeks after Sinn Fein led their eradication campaign to ban the selling of poppies in council premises, they march into a council facility for a party political launch. I am requesting a copy of the statutory booking form in this instance used for Ranfurly House and any other council premises such as sporting facilities.

“The poppy ban is, according to Cllr Linda Dillon, purely to create neutrality.

There is no excusing this breach of protocol and I have raised this with the Minister as a matter of urgency - Lord Morrow, DUP

“Can she now explain how her party breached parity and procedure by brazenly hosting their election launch in council property, which by her own reasoning is neutral space?”

“Given this move, I see no reason why the poppy cannot now be sold on council premises, or for that matter why any political grouping including my own, cannot now host any event which would originally have been deemed contentious.

“Not for the first time Sinn Fein has created their own rules, and driven a coach and horses through the policy they espoused, and I reject the excuses which have been proffered to date for this gross breach.

“The rate payers of Dungannon &South Tyrone are entitled to know who authorised the holding of this political event on council property and if it brought before the council.

“This is a departure from council standing orders and a full investigation must be carried out to ascertain exactly why such an event was permitted within council property.

“Sinn Fein has set the precedent. They preach equality and neutrality. They practise neither.”