The DUP group on Causeway Borough Council has called for an investigation into the conduct of Independent councillor Padraig McShane.
The members claim that the independent representative breached conduct rules when he displayed an Irish tricolour and a Palestinian flag in the Chamber at Council headquarters in Coleraine.
A photograph of the display, which includes Mohammed Al-Halabi of the Municipality of Gaza and two republican councillors from Londonderry and Strabane Council, came into circulation and was published by the press earlier this week.
Commenting, Coleraine DUP Councillor Trevor Clarke said,
“Last week, councillor McShane notified the Mayor’s office requesting permission to show an unnamed Palestinian visitor around the Causeway Borough Council civic headquarters and Council chamber.
“Neither the Mayor nor any other members of Council were invited, and the unofficial visit was personally arranged and conducted by councillor McShane on Friday past.
“During the visit, Councillor McShane and his visitors posed for a photograph seated behind the Mayor’s table, across which an Irish tricolour and a Palestinian flag were draped.
“Councillor McShane’s behaviour in the Council chamber was entirely unacceptable and has provoked outrage in the local community and beyond. Innocent victims of republican terrorism are only too aware of the consequences of terrorist alliances which existed between the PLO and the IRA, and rightly question the need to bring such a flag display into the Council chamber in Coleraine.
“In conducting his political stunt Councillor McShane not only breached the trust and spirit of goodwill in which the Mayor granted permission for him to show the Chamber to his visitor, but more seriously the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.
“All councillors are by law required to adhere to the code and act in accordance with it.
“Consequently our Party group has contacted the Northern Ireland Ombudsman’s office seeking a full investigation into councillor McShane’s behaviour. “We will also be raising the matter in Council to ensure such an abuse of privilege is not allowed to reoccur.”