Alliance man slams Sinn Fein for ‘cheap party political point scoring’ over EU funding

Alderman Stephen Martin
Alderman Stephen Martin

An Alliance Party councillor has accused Sinn Fein of “cheap party political point scoring” and “hypocrisy” after one of its activists publicly criticised two DUP representatives for welcoming EU funding for their local area.

Lisburn and Castlereagh representative Alderman Stephen Martin hit out at Sinn Fein local government election hopeful Joe Duffy after he released a statement yesterday accusing DUP councillors who welcomed £151,000 of Peace IV grants of “a brazen display of hypocrisy.”

“The £151,000 for this programme in this council area comes from the EU and is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body,” Mr Duffy said.

“Two DUP councillors on Lisburn and Castlereagh Council have welcomed today’s announcement and the availability of the funding. This is bare faced hypocrisy of the highest order from the DUP.

“This is the same party that is hell bent on doing their best to drag us out of Europe against the wishes of the majority of people in the north of Ireland.

“In welcoming this EU funding, the DUP are literally promoting something that they are trying to end by their support for Brexit.”

Responding to the Sinn Fein man’s statement, Alderman Martin, who is vice chair of the Lisburn Castlereagh Peace IV Partnership, accused Mr Duffy of “trying to detract from the good work of the partnership.”

“Mr Duffy would do better to read up on what Peace IV is actually delivering in Lisburn North rather than stretching the reality of the situation to fit his own political agenda,” the Alliance representative said.

“Sinn Fein shouldn’t be trying to detract from the good work of the partnership with cheap party political point scoring when it has always operated well on a cross party consensus basis.

“Sinn Fein are crying hypocrisy yet when I was actively campaigning for ‘Remain’ during the Brexit referendum, I didn’t see Sinn Fein out anywhere at any time knocking doors and talking to people in my DEA of Lisburn North. They were absent – nowhere to be seen. So much for leading the fight to stop Brexit. That’s the real hypocrisy right here.”

Alderman Martin added: “It’s hardly surprising five months out from an election they appear suddenly out of the woodwork, but to push this particular line is just nonsense.”