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Ballymoney
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

‘Mayor for all the borough. I think not.’ Cllr Wallace’s response at special meeting on ‘no confidence’ in Mayor Bateson

BALLYMONEY DUP Councillor Ivor Wallace has spoken out against Mayor Sean Bateson at a special council meeting, brought about by the DUP, ‘that this council has no confidence in Cllr Bateson to carry out the role of Mayor’.

The motion was a result of comments Cllr Bateson made on social media in which he paid tribute to hunger striker Thomas McElwee and described him as ‘Brave’

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Thomas McElwee was arrested for an IRA attach in 1976 which saw Yvonne Dunlop killed when her shop burned down. McElwee also was injured when one of the devices prematurely exploded.

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Speaking at the special meeting Cllr Wallace delivered a speech on the Mayor describing himself as a ‘proud young republicans from Kilrea’ saying;

“On the evening his party elected him to be Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and on the first full council meeting, Councillor Sean Bateson stated he was a proud young republican from Kilrea. He also told us that times they were a changing.

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“Although I would completely disagree with him in his political outlook I acknowledge his aspirations for a united Ireland.

“However, I cannot agree with the mayor of this borough glorifying terrorists and terrorism and then insisting he is the mayor for all the people in borough.

“Unfortunately when he told us times are a changing I fail to see that change. Sinn Fein during the troubles were a party who had members who were involved in the murder of men women and children and their members also supported this terrorist campaign. Today’s members it would seem still support those who ruthlessly murdered their neighbours and our family and friends.

“Councillor Bateson told us he was a proud young republican from Kilrea.

“Kilrea was also my hometown. My memories and Councillor Bateson’s rose tinted heroes in history will be vastly different.

“Kilrea was one of the bombed towns in Northern Ireland. I lay in bed many nights and my bed shook as another bomb went off. I was in the local Boys Brigade. We would have went to the local businesses and helped them salvage their stock and clean up to get them back in business as quickly as possible.

“My neighbour and her boyfriend decided to go in their car one night to get something from the chip shop. When they returned, my neighbour leaned forward into the footwell of the car to lift the food. One of Sinn Fein’s heroes opened her door and shot Willis Agnew.

“He went round to the other side of the car, opened the door and as Willis was slumped over the steering wheel he began beating him over the head with the but of his gun. My neighbour threw her arm over his neck to try to protect him. The gunman battered her arm. He fired another shot into Mr Agnew and skulked off into the darkness.

“A hero? I don’t think so!

“What about my friend Tommy Gibson. Tommy way s just 27 years of age. He was married and had a child.

“Tommy drove into the Bank Square in Kilrea to wait for his employer’s van to collect him to take him to his work in Ballymoney. They were working on a new home for the elderly. Tommy was working any extra hours he could as he was working on his own new home for him and his wee family.

“The heroes pulled up alongside Tommy’s car and shot him several times in the head.

“His employer arrived minutes later. He said there were no words to describe how he was feeling. He described him as a decent hardworking young fellow.

“Tommy, the father of a 14 month old daughter was also an ambulance driver with the Territorial Army for seven years. Some crime! Some heroes!

“The same South Derry brigade shot another young man, David Sheils just outside Maghera. He was just 30 years old with a baby of just 4 weeks old. Like a Kilrea family a few days earlier he was a Protestant who was in the process of building a new home.

“Of course the same Brigade in the same area had already left their horrible mark in that area. William Gordon a school welfare officer and his 10 year old daughter Lesley were blew up in an IRA booby trap bomb left under their car as they were going to school. A 10 year old child and still these terrorists are being eulogised by today’s Sinn Fein politicians.

“I have been approached by so many people to say Councillor Bateson is not my mayor.

“Mayor for all the borough. I think not. Hopefully in time Councillor Bateson will be correct and times will change only this time for the better of us all.

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