A Sinn Fein MLA has been accused of “cranking up sectarian division” after he said the anniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland is “nothing to celebrate”.
It comes after a DUP proposal for Mid and East Antrim Council to mark the centenary of the formation of the Province in 1921.
The motion, due to be put forward at the council’s monthly meeting last night, has been described by Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy as “an attempt to rewrite the history of the brutality and repression created by partition”.
Branding NI “the Orange state”, the Newry and Armagh MLA added: “It is outrageous and typical of unionist-dominated councils where other perspectives and experiences are either ignored or treated with contempt.
“The arrogance and misrule that characterised the post-partition Unionist government is alive and well in the ongoing denial of rights to some citizens and visible in motions like this brought before unionist-dominated councils.”
But Alderman Gregg McKeen, who seconded the motion and is the DUP’s group leader on the council, said he wanted any event which marked the creation of NI to be “inclusive”.
He told the News Letter: “From sporting achievements, to industry, tourism and entertainment, Northern Ireland has a wealth of people and places that have put this country on the map. That is what we want to celebrate.
“It is not surprising to see Sinn Fein using this as a way to continue cranking up sectarian divisions.
“But we want to use this as an opportunity to showcase and celebrate NI. It is not about one side over another, it is about all the people of this country.”