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Sunday, October 17, 2021

‘Motion of no confidence’ to be submitted against Causeway Mayor

The DUP have announced that they intend to put forward ‘A motion of no confidence’ against Sean Bateson, the Mayor of Causeway Coast & Glens.

This follows comments the Sinn Fein Councillor made recently when he referred to republican hunger striker Thomas McElwee as ‘brave’, a comment he has been heavily criticised for.

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In response, DUP group leader on Causeway Coast & Glens Council, Councillor Aaron Callan, has said that,

“DUP Councillors will be putting forward a motion of no confidence in the Mayor at the next meeting of Council.”

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Mr Callan went on to also say’

“I will also be submitting a complaint to the Local Government Commissioner for Standards in relation to the issue.”

Mr Bateson was remembering the Thomas McElwee on the 38th anniversary of his death in Bellaghy BUT has hit back at the criticism he has received, saying,

“As a history teacher, a republican and mayor I am fully aware off the different perspectives with regards our past. There never will be a one size fits all narrative off our conflict which is hundreds of years of complexities. It is exactly this understanding which allows me to respect those that hold a Unionist and British interpretation. As a shared and post conflict society, they have every right to their perspective and to commemorate their dead. 

“However, the same applies for myself. My interpretation is from a republican perspective. I attend and will continue to attend republican commemorations which honour and remember those men and women who I believe died in the cause for Irish Freedom. They are held with the utmost dignity and respect.

“The Good Friday Agreement itself enshrines this right to commemorate those who died in conflict. Thus, despite agendas from certain quarters, remembering your dead is not something that has to be justified.”

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Councillor Callan went on to say further,

“Cllr Bateson is supposed to be a Mayor representing citizens across the borough, but his comments eulogising terrorists mean he cannot command the support of the council. As such DUP Ccouncillors will be putting forward a motion of no confidence in the mayor to be debated at the next meeting of council. I will also be submitting a complaint to the Local Government Commissioner for Standards in relation to the issue.

“Thomas McElwee who Cllr Bateson was eulogising was convicted and sentenced for the murder (later reduced to manslaughter) of an innocent woman in her clothes shop in Ballymena. It is Yvonne Dunlop who we should remember, not someone who deliberately went out to destroy her property and take her life.

“Sean Bateson, like myself, was not alive during the hunger strikes or when the troubles were blighting Northern Ireland. Unfortunately he is only joining more senior Sinn Fein representatives who address parades, or dance in the street to celebrate IRA terrorists despite full knowledge of the impact their words and actions have on those who suffered at the hands of the Provisional IRA.

“There is the opportunity for Cllr Bateson to recognise the mistake he has made and to retract the comments and act in a way that respects the office of mayor and the citizens of our borough. If he does not then we believe the only option is for councillors to decide whether or not he commands the confidence of the council.”

The DUP are not the only party to condemn Mr Bateson’s comments, UUP Party leader Robin Swann MLA has also spoken out.

“The Sinn Fein Mayor of Causeway Coast & Glens Council, Sean Bateson, has serious questions to answer following a tweet which he put out regarding the IRA terrorist Thomas McElwee. 

“To see a Mayor praise the actions of such a man is yet another example of Sinn Fein mocking and disrespecting innocent victims. He has proved he cannot be a Mayor for all the citizens of Causeway Coast & Glens and should step down from the post before he causes any more offence. 

“Tom McElwee was many things, but brave was not one of them. We must never forget that Thomas McElwee got to choose the timing and manner of his death, Yvonne Dunlop, like the rest of the IRA’s victims, was given no choice.” 

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