Councillors clash over plan to host Reserve Forces dinner

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DUP and Sinn Fein councillors have clashed over the hosting of a civic dinner for Reserve Forces personnel.

The DUP’s Nigel Kells took Sinn Fein’s Michael Goodman to task over comments about the event.

Speaking at last Wednesday’s Policy and Governance Committee meeting when the proposal to host the dinner was brought forward, Cllr Goodman said he had “serious doubts” about hosting an event for Reserve Forces personnel.

“Reserve Forces have been used in the last few years to fight in wars on behalf of the British government; wars that have led to the deaths of millions of innocent people,” Cllr Goodman said.

He added that the council should avoid being associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, adding: “I think this should be avoided at all costs.”

Cllr Kells said he was “disappointed” by Cllr Goodman’s comments, “coming from a party who stand over the bombing and terrorism in this country.”

Cllr Goodman’s party colleague Annemarie Logue quickly interjected, calling for a point of order and referring to the council code of conduct.

Cllr Kells’ proposal that the council host the civic dinner was seconded by Alderman Billy DeCourcy and agreed by members. Cllrs Goodman and Logue voted against, while Cllrs Noreen McClelland and Billy Webb abstained.

Speaking to the Times after the meeting, Cllr Kells said he did not believe his comments were a breach of the code of conduct.

“Everything I stated was factual and true and I will not be taking any lectures from Sinn Fein,” he said.