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Derry's council to reconsider a decision not to mark 100th anniversary of Northern Ireland

Council's recent controversial decision debated again

What happens next in Northern Ireland?

Stormont, the seat of the Northern Ireland Executive.

Derry City and Strabane District Council tonight agreed to reconsider a controversial decision not to mark next year's 100th anniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland.

Many councils have agreed to mark the centenary with special events next year.

However, Derry's council voted last month not to participate as an organisation in any centenary celebrations.

A 27-10 majority of councillors voted for a motion proposed by independent Gary Donnelly not to commemorate any event relating to the centenary.

Sinn Fein and SDLP councillors supported the motion.

However, DUP representatives on the council used the 'call in' process to try and get the decision overturned.

By implementing the 'call in' process, the DUP councillors ensured that the issue was debated again today at the council's full monthly meeting.

Speaking at the meeting, DUP Alderman Hilary McClintock proposed that last month's decision be overturned.

If not, she said, they would take the matter to the Equality Commission.

Ulster Unionist councillor Darren Guy told the meeting that the decision taken last month had been a case of the 'majority' discriminating against the 'minority'.

DUP Alderman Ryan McCready said the 27 councillors who had supported last month's motion should 'hang their heads in shame'.

SDLP councillor Martin Reilly proposed that the decision taken last month be referred for further consideration to a committee of the council where the 'subject matter of that decision falls'.

However, Cllr Donnelly said his motion from last month did not need to be referred to any committee and said the decision taken should be 'reinforced'.

Sinn Fein councillor Mickey Cooper said his party's stance had not changed from last month, in that they supported funding being made available to any groups that wish to celebrate the centenary but that as a corporate body the council should not organise any anniversary events.

However, he added that Sinn Fein would support the proposal to refer the decision to the relevant council committee.

When Cllr Reilly's proposal was put to a vote, it was passed.

Twenty four councillors, including all SDLP councillors and the majority of Sinn Fein councillors, voted in support of it.

Twelve councillors, including all the unionist councillors as well as Cllr Donnelly, Sinn Fein's Michaela Boyle and Aontu councillor Emmet Doyle, voted against it.

Four councillors - independents Paul Gallagher and Sean Carr, and People Before Profit councillors Eamonn McCann and Shaun Harkin - abstained from the vote.

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