Unionists divided over Easter Rising commemoration

Ald Mark Cosgrove. INNT 01-810CON
Ald Mark Cosgrove. INNT 01-810CON
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Following the council’s decision to mark the Easter Rising in the borough, unionist councillors have clashed on the issue.

A row commenced on social media between Ald Mark Cosgrove of the UUP and DUP Cllr Nigel Kells, shortly after the vote.

Cllr David Hollis. INNT 01-825CON

Cllr David Hollis. INNT 01-825CON

Speaking to the Times, Cllr Kells said: “Sinn Fein’s motion on the Easter Rebellion in the words of Cllr Logue is to ‘celebrate the Easter Rising’. That is not something I consider appropriate for the ratepayers to fund. The UUP voted for this body to be set up, we voted against it. They didn’t discuss it with us and now they want us to bail them out on a body we didn’t want. Mark has also since mentioned on social media that at the same meeting funding for Somme events was agreed. Firstly, you cannot compare the Somme and the Easter Rebellion and secondly, funding on a completely separate motion cannot be used to justify his party’s support for this motion.”

Speaking to the Times, Ald Cosgrove said: “The motion which was passed unanimously that allocated £50,000 towards a programme of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and the huge sacrifices paid by all of our people was a prime example of the new political maturity that I want to see developed.

“In terms of the 1916 Easter Rising it has always frustrated me that there has been an entire perspective missing, that of the British Crown Forces and the feelings of ordinary Dubliners during those traumatic times. By setting up a committee to look at the Easter Rising I hope that we will receive proposals that will improve and enrich our understanding of those events.”

Commenting on the issue, TUV Cllr David Hollis said: “I was approached a few minutes before the meeting by a member of the SDLP and asked if I would support an amendment to the Sinn Fein motion being brought by Alliance, SDLP and the Ulster Unionist parties. I refused and told them that I would have to consult Jim Allister MLA.

“Another two amendments were put forward with a recorded vote being taken. I did not vote on any amendment. The final amendment was to select a committee using the D’hont method and that they would offer a place to the TUV.

“I replied that the D’hont system was used to keep me off committees and there was no way I was going to get involved in their little game of majority rule. I then left the chamber.”