Mayor’s ‘glowing report’ doesn’t stack up when it comes to equality

FROM Alternative Lurgan Resident

After reading another article and letter in last week’s Lurgan Mail I felt I wanted to write in. Specifically to respond to Lurgan Resident’s letter relating to Mayor Lockhart, but also reflecting on almost a year of Councillor Lockhart’s time as mayor. On a weekly basis I have read various articles on events and issues, and feel that I should also offer the alternative views of another Lurgan resident.

Let’s look at the alternative narrative. A few months after being embarrassed in the local press for posting on Facebook in the middle of a council meeting, DUP Councillor Lockhart was elected mayor despite having fewer votes than a Sinn Fein councillor. When questioned about the fiasco in follow up interviews she wasn’t really bothered saying; “It’ll work itself out after Craigavon is merged with Armagh and Banbridge in 2015.” Proof, if it was needed, of her attitude to addressing the issue of inequality in Craigavon council. Councillor Lockhart is the ninth straight unionist mayor of Craigavon in a row. No surprise considering there has only ever been three nationalist mayors in 40 years! DUP double standards in power sharing in Stormont and exclusion in Craigavon will no doubt be repeated this year again.

She claimed that she would represent all citizens of Craigavon. Well done on the Armagh Ladies GAA function she attended. But what does representing everyone really mean?

It means equality. Not calling for people on your Facebook page to pray for opposition to the Equal Marriage bill in Westminster. Representing everyone means respecting the rights of everyone, including the gay community. Which by the way exists in Craigavon too!

More recently I have read about using the post of mayor for political gain, relating to the meetings with DUP MP David Simpson and the council meeting adjournment saga, joining the British Legion allegedly for political purposes and now a complaint that she failed to act impartially in a council debate.

There is an alternative to the glowing report given by Lurgan Resident in last week’s paper, and it isn’t about putting Craigavon first. Putting Carla and the DUP first quite possibly.