Ulster Unionist Assemblyman Robin Swann has called on the Arts Council to totally ignore Sinn Fein’s hypocritical stance on querying funding for Ballymena’s prestigious Braid Arts Centre.
The North Antrim MLA, who is also his Party’s spokesperson on Culture, Arts and Leisure matters, made his appeal after Sinn Fein announced it had met the Arts Council in Belfast to discuss the implications of Ballymena Council’s decision to relocate flags, emblems and a portrait of the Queen to the Braid Arts Centre.
Mr Swann said: “Sinn Fein reportedly said that the £2 million funding that the Centre received from the Arts Council has been put in jeopardy by this move. This is simply bullying tactics by republicans to force the Arts Centre not to accept the flags, emblems and the portrait of Her Majesty.
“It also exposes Sinn Fein’s hypocritical stance and confusion on the issue. On the one hand local North Antrim Sinn Fein representatives complain about the portrait of the Queen moving to the prestigious Arts Centre, whilst on the other hand the Sinn Fein deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has suggested publicly that he might one day meet the Queen.
“The Northern Ireland community, and especially the people of North Antrim and Ballymena, need consistency from Sinn Fein, not hypocritical, meaningless rhetoric.”