DUP apoligise to Sinn Féin!
Congratulations to Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard. Just before Christmas, I blogged an article detailing how the DUP had disgracefully tried to exclude Billy for Coleraine councill's annual Christmas reception. Billy was unwilling to let the matter rest and allow the DUP to get away with such discrimination and so took a case under Equality legislation. This was forced the DUP mayor into a humiliating climbdown and he has been forced to admit he acted contary to the law and has had to apoligise to the Sinn Féin representative. That's one huge piece of humble pie!
Fair play to Billy who is doing an excellent job as the only Sinn Féin representative on Coleraine council. He commented afterwards that;
This was a clear cut case of misrepresenting the ratepayer. The DUP mayor tried to pursue his party policy of excluding Sinn Féin from a function paid for by the ratepayer. It didn't work and perhaps the DUP in Coleraine and elsewhere will learn from this episode.
There may be only one Sinn Féin councillor on Coleraine Borough Council but we as a party are determined to pick our challenges wisely. I believe this is the first time that the DUP have admitted that they acted against the law and apologised to a Sinn Féin representative.
Eight months into this Council term and Sinn Féin has drawn a firm line against unionist intransigence and there will be more."
Billy is a controversial figure to many but having met him, I am of the opinion that is a genuine Republican and a man of integrity who has made many brave decisions in his life. He stands up for what he believes in him and I don't think that Republicans in Coleraine could have a better representative. I have no doubt that he will continue his excellent work, representating his constituents and highlighting Unionist discrimination and bigotry.