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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 17:53 GMT
Sinn Fein in Christmas tree row
Noel Sheridan is Armagh's deputy mayor
Noel Sheridan is Armagh's deputy mayor
A community group has objected to a Sinn Fein deputy mayor turning on Armagh city's Christmas tree lights.

The party's leader on the council said she was shocked to hear that the group has refused to allow councillor Noel Sheridan to carry out the function.

He has offered to meet the community group to discuss the issue.

Councillor Cathy Rafferty said Sinn Fein was informed by council officials that members of the group had objected to the deputy mayor's role.

"I am appalled at this development. It is a direct insult on the office of deputy mayor and on this council area, and I would expect all councillors from across the political divide to share my indignation," she said.

"This type of behaviour has to be challenged, unfortunately there still seem to be some who refuse to recognise the new political dispensation."

Mr Sheridan said he had been due to switch on the lights because the mayor was not available.

Christmas tree lights
A community group objected to the SF member switching lights on

"As deputy mayor, I have at all times ensured that the integrity of the position has never been compromised," he said.

"I respect the office and the responsibility that the position places on me. Unfortunately there obviously those who are not prepared to do the same," he said.

A spokeswoman for the council said it did not wish to make any comment before it had seen Sinn Fein's statement on the issue.

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