DUP not boycotting Mayor

Craigavon's new Mayor Cllr Colin McCusker.
Craigavon's new Mayor Cllr Colin McCusker.

The DUP have strongly denied they boycotted the first civic reception hosted by the new UUP Mayor Colin McCusker.

The reception for Lurgan College hockey team was held on Monday at 1pm and only three councillors attended, all of them members of the Ulster Unionist Party.

The DUP’s group leader on the council, Carla Lockhart, denied they’d boycotted the meeting, citing the timing as a factor for poor attendance.

She said: “This was definitely not a boycott. I was working down in Belfast and Phil (Moutray) was working as well.

“We find this all the time that people who have full-time jobs can’t attend all the functions we’d want to.”

Ms Lockhart, who had herself proposed the civic reception back in May, added: “I’m disappointed that the timing didn’t suit. I only got notification on Wednesday or Thursday.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate Lurgan College hockey team on their fantastic achievement in winning the Schools Cup and All Ireland trophy for the third time in four years.”

MS Lockhart was scathing about Ulster Unionist tactics at last Tuesday’s AGM when the UUP’s Colin McCusker was elected as Mayor and Sinn Fein’s Catherine Seeley as his deputy, She added: “Unionists want to see their politicians working together. This is an example where the UUP sided with republicans rather than their unionist colleagues. This is not the first time the UUP group have taken such an approach. Only a few months ago they also sided with non-unionists and voted against a DUP attempt to increase the number of days the Union Flag flies in the borough. Interestingly the UUP group backtracked on this position once the electorate started to voice their dismay.”