Craigavon’s Deputy Mayor Catherine Seeley will not be taking part in the Remembrance Sunday events in Lurgan, it has been confirmed.
Sinn Féin councillor Seeley’s reluctance to participate is centred on the role played by the British military in the event. It’s the first time a Mayor or their deputy has snubbed the annual event in Craigavon borough.
She said she hopes that engagements with the British Legion in Upper Bann to make Remembrance events more inclusive will continue.
She said; “The meetings with the British Legion were challenging but also respectful and meaningful they offered real hope and prospect of further engagement with the British Legion in Upper Bann.
“While I respect the right of all to remember and honour the fallen from the First and Second World Wars and indeed our recent conflict, it is clear that the British military involvement in such commemorations makes it impossible for the entire community get involved.
“I will continue to engage with others in a bid to secure an inclusive commemorative event to honour all those who have lost their lives in war and conflict. I wish to thank the British Legion for their engagement with me and hope this can continue.
“In the absence of an agreed inclusive commemorative ceremony I will not be attending any of the Remembrance Sunday events planned in the Borough.
“I do however offer my condolences to all who lost their lives in war and respect the right of all to honour and remember their war dead.”
Commenting on the controversy DUP Councillor Carla Lockhart said: “Tonight in the most respectful way possible I raised the fact that I and my DUP colleagues are bitterly disappointed and in fact grieved that for the first time in the history of this Borough there will not be a Mayor or a Deputy Mayor present in Lurgan to lay the Civic Wreath on behalf of Craigavon Council at the War Memorial to commemorate our fallen heroes listed on the War memorial.
“You ask why?
“This is owing to the fact that Sinn Fein hold the position of Deputy Mayor and their narrow, offensive political view point has once again trodden on the graves of those who fought proudly for our Country.
“I actually was emotional whilst speaking and I cannot expressed how vexed I am that this year the Mayor’s office will not be represented in the area that I proudly represent.”
More on this story in this week’s ‘MAIL’.