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Incident prompts review of councillors safety

AN incident at a council meeting in Strabane involving members of the public has prompted Derry City and Strabane District Council to carry-out a review of its councillors safety during meetings, it has emerged.

Details of the incident at the Strabane offices on the Derry Road, which occurred during the Planning Committee held on September 5, were disclosed at the monthly meeting of council held in the Guildhall on Thursday afternoon.

It is understood the controversy surrounded an application for proposed new housing in the city.

Council has confirmed a review has been carried out into the safety of its 40 elected representatives during public meetings with a number of recommendations on what measures can be taken to mitigate against similar discord in future expected to be brought before a forthcoming meeting.

Elsewhere, a query was also raised over the Strabane offices suitability for hosting future planning meetings given its limited space – with fears expressed that the review could see them moved from the town.

Concerns

Raising the issue of councillor safety at Thursday’s meeting, Castlederg-based councillor, Kieran McGuire – a member of the Planning Committee - voiced concerns over the behaviour of members of the public at the meeting which, he claimed, left one elected representative fearing for her safety.

‘Intimidated’

The Sinn Féin man relayed details of the incident and told the chamber: “At that Planning Committee in Strabane, there were a lot of councillors intimidated at the meeting by members of the public.

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