Northern Ireland

Belfast Pride: Council votes against sending delegation

The Belfast Pride parade 2018 Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Belfast Pride takes place every August

A motion for a council to take part in Belfast's Pride parade has been overturned.

In June, a Sinn Féin motion was passed by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, which proposed that a group of representatives would take part in the event in August.

But, on Monday, it was quashed with largely unionist backing.

Sinn Féin councillor Catherine Nelson said LGBT ratepayers "deserve equality and parity of esteem".

"We live in a rainbow society which is inclusive and open to all," she told BBC News NI.

Some councillors cited the £500 cost of facilitating up to 30 council staff members as a reason.

Ms Nelson said the cost was being used "as cover for the narrow-minded political interests and continued denial of rights by some parties on this council".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A Pride flag will be flown over civic buildings across the council area next month

Last month, a motion to fly the rainbow flag over civic buildings across the same council in August was passed by four votes - 21 councillors voted in favour of the motion and 17 against.

Alliance councillor Eóin Tennyson, who tabled the flag motion, said while some unionist councillors voted in favour of it, they abstained from the motion about the parade.

However on Monday, they backed other unionists who wanted to overturn the Pride parade decision.

"This would've been a small, but incredibly significant gesture of support for the LGBTQ+ community in our borough but particularly for LGBT members of staff within the council," Mr Tennyson told BBC News NI.

"Some councillors cited the cost of participation - a mere £500 - as their reason for voting against this proposal. You simply cannot put a price on equality and acceptance."

A spokesperson for the council said that after the original motion was passed, council officers explored the option of taking part in the parade and submitted a report for consideration.

She said: "Elected members decided at last night's council meeting not to participate in the parade."