BALLYMONEY Borough Council has agreed a motion to sign the Community Covenant as a voluntary statement of their support for the local Armed Forces community.
During a recent meeting, Cllr Tom McKeown proposed the notice which was opposed by Sinn Fein representatives.
Cllr McKeown stated the motion which read: ‘We the undersigned hereby propose that Ballymoney Borough Council recognises the sacrifice of the many fallen and injured service personnel of the Borough serving in recent international conflicts; realises the potential for this Council and other statutory bodies to provide practical and moral support to service personnel, veterans and their families; and commits to give meaning to its support for our service personnel and veterans by signing the Community Covenant, as a voluntary statement of our support for the local Armed Forces Community.’
In response Cllr Philip McGuigan said Sinn Fein would ‘not be supporting the motion for various reasons’ adding that Council should be offering practical moral support to the whole community and not needing to make a specific motion.
Cllr Anita Cavlan also outlined that she would not be supporting the motion either.
However Cllr McKeown hit back at the comments stating: “People that go out to defend our country are from all sides. They defend this country and come back traumatised, injured or some do not come back at all. We need to recognise their actions and therefore offer our support.”
Alderman Bill Kennedy agreed with Cllr McKeown adding: “We need to recognise and support what these people do for us.”
Concurring Alderman Frank Campbell said: “We, as a Council, need to support our service, we are the only ones they have to come back to after all.”
Other councillors including Cllr Ian Stevenson, Cllr Jason Atkinson and Cllr William Blair also agreed with the comments in favour of the motion.
The decision was put to a vote with 10 in favour with three Sinn Fein members voting against. The motion was agreed.