Councillors from Derry City and Strabane have voted to decline an invitation to the summer Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Snubbing the invite has caused a stir within the community.
When put to the vote, fifteen councillors voted for and fifteen voted against accepting the invitation.
However, the Sinn Féin Mayor, Maolíosa McHugh, used his casting vote to vote against meaning the Derry City and Strabane Council will not be sending a representative to the Summer Garden Party.
In a comment to Royal Central, DUP Councillor David Ramsey said that the DUP in Londonderry are “disgusted that the council have declined a civic invitation to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party.”
He said he believed that the Mayor “used his casting vote to snub this event and all the unionist and British citizens of the Derry City & Strabane District Council area.”
As well as that, David Ramsey said this was a snub to the citizens of the council district who had received awards in the New Year’s honours list.
David Ramsey said that the council is considering a call-in request, a special procedure that can be requested if 15% of the councillors think a decision would have negative effects on specific groups within the community.
Sinn Féin councillor Erin McGinley defended Mayor McHugh. He said, “This isn’t an issue about the mayor; the mayor was using his democratic right to use that casting vote.”
He argued that the council would be happy to “accommodate anyone going to Buckingham Palace.” However, it should not have come at a cost to the taxpayers.
Garden Parties held at Buckingham Palace and Holyroodhouse provide members of the public with a chance of meeting the Royal Family. Local government, churches, societies and associations can nominate guests for an invitation.
Mayor McHugh also made the decision to not meet Prince Charles when he visited last year.
At the time of publication, Mayor McHugh had not responded to Royal Central’s request for a comment.