West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

DUP Chairman snubs Sinn Fein

Published: 8 June, 2012

The newly elected DUP Chairman of Omagh District Council, Errol Thompson refused to shake the hand of Sinn Fein's Council group leader, Glenn Campbell at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday evening.

Councillor Campbell said that after the meeting Cllr Thompson was shaking the hand of Councillors from the other parties but snubbed Sinn Féin.

Speaking after the incident, Councillor Campbell said, "I am not personally concerned that Errol Thompson refused to shake my hand, but it sends out the completely wrong message to the public, especially to younger people. My approach, and that of Sinn Féin, is to respect all democratically elected members and to respect the office of Chairman.

"I don't know if this was a DUP party decision or a personal choice, but I do know that such actions belong in the past. By snubbing Sinn Féin, Cllr Thompson has shown total contempt for the people who vote for us. As the largest party on the council, he has effectively snubbed the majority of the citizens of the Omagh district.

"Cllr Thompson needs to seriously reflect on his attitude if he is going to be inclusive and serve equally for all the citizens in the year ahead. He needs to live up to his responsibilities as Chairman and set a positive example as the first citizen.

Councillor Ann Quinn also witnessed the incident. "I couldn't believe it when Errol refused to shake Glenn's hand. Given his background in the UDR, I really shouldn't have been surprised. As a Loyalist militia, the UDR stalked the fields and laneways of this district for decades harassing and intimidating nationalists. Unfortunately, in Errol's case, his actions on Thursday evening will lead many people to conclude that leopards can't change their spots".