Motion fails over Israeli boycott mayor

Published Monday, 18 August 2014
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A vote of no confidence against the Sinn Féin Mayor of Newry and Mourne Council has been defeated, after he called for a boycott of Israeli goods by the district's businesses.

Motion fails over Israeli boycott mayor
Councillor Hughes said the letters were a "personal initiative". (© Twitter)

Unionists tabled the motion at the council's Monday night meeting calling for Councillor Dáire Hughes to apologise and step down from his position.

Last month, the Mayor sent out a letter urging shops in the area not to stock Israeli goods in response to the country's military actions in Gaza.

There have been growing calls for protest action across NI, with several demonstrations held inside and outside stores which stock Israeli goods.

Councillor Hughes had said the letter was his own "personal initiative" after he was asked for the information from his constituents.

UUP councillor David Taylor described the mayor's call for items to be listed, removed from sale and boycotted by retailers as "disturbing."

He said: "I am acutely aware of the differing views in terms of the complex political situation in the Middle East.

"However, I am extremely conscious, having been afforded the opportunity to serve as deputy mayor, that you are required to represent all the people of our district and therefore where possible stay above the normal rough and tumble of politics.

"Instead councillor Hughes has tarnished and compromised the position of first citizen of Newry and Mourne through his deliberate actions."

Cllr Taylor continued: "My unionist colleagues and I believe, given the significant controversy surrounding councillor Hughes' failure to act duly and appropriately as mayor, that he should offer an immediate apology or consider his position as First Citizen of Newry and Mourne."

Following the motion's defeat, Cllr Hughes said that he will continue to represent all citizens.

"This motion was politically motivated and was not representative of the views of the citizens of the Council, as tonight's vote has shown.

"It was also not about Gaza. This motion was tabled and supported by those who are opposed to Sinn Féin," he said.

"I will continue to represent all the people of Newry and Mourne District Council equally as mayor.

"I will also continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and to call for a lasting and verifiable ceasefire and an end to violence in the Middle East."

Afterwards, Cllr Taylor expressed his disappointment.

"The Mayor has clearly abused his position and displayed shameless arrogance in attempting to bully traders into removing specific goods from their stores.

"It is extremely disappointing that the majority of Councillors have failed to display the resolve to hold Councillor Hughes to account for his unacceptable behaviour."

He said that the result was "certainly not surprising."

© UTV News
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28 Comments
lucylou in belfast wrote (96 days ago):
THAT'S WHAT CAUSED THE COLLAPSE OF THE CELTIC TIGER!!!! Peter Robinson refused a pat or two of KERRYGOLD on a plane journey. learn something new every day-----Thanks DOROTHY in Kansas [ave] on behalf of all those economics students out there.
Dorothy in Kansas wrote (98 days ago):
Enda in Derry wrote: "Did unionists not call for the boycott of all Irish goods at one time?" Not sure about that Enda, but I do remember that David Trimble, when leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and First Minister, did refuse to eat Irish butter, I think Kerrygold, on a flight from Belfast to London.
Warrenpoint in Warrenpoint wrote (99 days ago):
Great decision all round , this call from mr hughes was never intended to be anti-semitic but anti-isreal and i for 1 consider that to be the stance of every humanist the world over
let some light in here wrote (99 days ago):
Well done to sf for promoting the idea that taking sides is more important than the human cost,your hamas buddies will be proud and so will the Israeli government,as taking sides is all they care about.Proof if it were ever needed that sf are not a party for peace but exist to maintain division.
ex taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (100 days ago):
I wish I could ask the Mayor why just Israel and why not boycott Iran, Iraq (ISIS), Syria (Assad), Suddan (Bashir), Nigeria (remember the kidnapped sex slave schoolgirls), Saudi or China over Tibet? Indeed why not boycott Hamas who commit real war crimes and who openly admit they deliberately target civilians. Hamas who butchered the PLO for not being militant enough, Hamas who once they won an election then banned elections (so they could not and would not have to answer to their people), Hamas who used child labour to build their tunnels (many children died), Hamas who have executed 30 people in Gazza this week, Hamas who are on record as saying Israel has no right to exist and all Jews should be put to the sword, Hamas who store their weapons in civilian areas and use their people as human shields, Hamas who use child soldiers and Hamas who after been given control of Gazza and after all the Jewish residents of Gazza were uprooted did not try to live in peace but fired rockets into Israel non stop. Israel is the only real democracy in that region and anyone who supports the boycott either does not have all the facts or is insane. I am very disappointed that a Sinn Fein member has not only adopted what was and is a NAZI policy but seems totally unapologetic for it.
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