‘Discrimination’ claims re-surface in Bushmills

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FRESH claims of ‘discrimination’ against Unionists in the Bushmills area have been made against Moyle Council.

The allegations have surfaced on a number of occasions in the past but they were aired again at a meeting in Ballycastle last week by new Traditional Unionist Voice councillor Sharon McKillop.

The comments came during a debate about leisure provision across the Moyle area and claims from some in the Glens area that they are “ignored” by the Council on that front.

Cllr McKillop said: “The minority community in the Council area often feels neglected and it is important that proper leisure fitness facilities are in the Causeway area.”

She said Unionists looking from the outside believe leisure facilities go to nationalist areas and the Unionist community is asking: “What is Council proposing for us?”

Council Chairperson, Cllr Padraig McShane (Independent), said there are facilities in Ballycastle because it is the main town in the area and he said there are probably more Unionists living in Ballycastle than Bushmills.

He denied Bushmills is discriminated against and said the Council had set aside £400,000 for a tourist information project at the library premises in the village.

SDLP councillor Catherine McCambridge said disappointment should be noted that “we hear language of Unionists and Nationalists in relation to sport”.

She said she supports teams across Moyle and doesn’t look upon them as one or the other.

Independent councillor Seamus Blaney said he was surprised at the language as the Council had football pitches in Mosside and Bushmills and provided facilities in the Glens but Ballycastle had to wait 30 years for facilities - “so Ballycastle was discriminated against”.

Cllr McShane said he would caution against going down the Unionist or Nationalist route and added: “If there is one council in the 26 that is even and fair we are by far and away leaders in that.”

Cllr Cara McShane (Sinn Fein) said they had spoken about these issues so often in the past but out of the 26 councils Moyle is the only one without a full blown leisure centre.

Cllr Colum Thompson (Independent) said he was sad to hear about Unionists and Nationalists but he supported Cllr McKillop’s general feeling about the Causeway people, and indeed those in the Glens, did not have the same provision as Ballycastle.

Cllr McKillop said she wanted to “clear up” the issue.

“The language I use was the words used to me and they are my constituents. They are feeling discriminated against.”

Cllr Padraig McShane said when ever people make such remarks to Cllr McKillop she should point out to them the work that is ongoing and the things the Council has done.

Cllr McKillop added: “I would not encourage divide. I encourage good relations but I am voicing the views of the people who have been speaking to me.”