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Friday, June 11, 1999 Published at 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK


UK Politics

No party invite for Sinn Fein

Belfast City Hall - still a forbidding venue for Sinn Fein

A political storm is brewing in Belfast following the decision of the Ulster Unionist Lord Mayor not to invite Sinn Fein members of the city council to his annual ceremonial dinner.

The Search for Peace
Sinn Fein, who were last week celebrating as the party secured the election of Councillor Marie Moore as deputy mayor, described the snub by UUP lord mayor, Bob Stoker, as an insult to their voters.

"This is an outrageous decision and a blatant act of discrimination against a significant proportion of the city's electorate," said Ms Moore.


[ image: Marie Moore: left without an invite]
Marie Moore: left without an invite
The annual lord mayor's dinner is one of the highlights of the civic year.

This latest move comes even though the UUP and Sinn Fein have agreed to share the positions of mayor and deputy mayor between them.

Sinn Fein now has the same number of seats on the council as the UUP and is likely to secure the mayoral position in next year's election due to a power sharing arrangement between the council's pro-agreement parties.

The Lord Mayor, Bob Stoker is insisting that he is not discriminating against Sinn Fein members.

"This is a personal invitation from myself - I don't believe that Sinn Fein warrant an invitation at this point in time," he said.





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