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DUP say no to Sabbath Christmas switch-on
It’s bah humbug in Crumlin as village lights remain dark

Plans to turn on the Christmas lights in Crumlin town on a Sunday are being opposed by the DUP, who are insisting that the ceremony is inappropriate on the Sabbath day.
But local Sinn Féin councillor Martin Meehan has accused the DUP of trying to bring a “Bible-belt mentality” into the 80 per cent nationalist town.

A DUP councillor in Antrim has been lambasted by a council colleague after he complained that a Christmas lights switching-on ceremony in Crumlin would offend people because it is due to take place on a Sunday.

Councillor Samuel Dunlop says he’s concerned that the switching-on of the Christmas tree lights in the mainly nationalist town of Crumlin on December 5 would “offend” some in the town.

During a heated debate at Antrim Borough Council’s full November monthly meeting Sinn Féin councillor Martin Meehan said he was appalled at the criticism launched at the ceremony by the DUP.

“This is the DUP trying to bring a Bible-belt mentality into Crumlin,” said Councillor Meehan.

“This town is 80 per cent nationalist and I know for a fact that people would not be offended if this community-led festive ceremony took place on a Sunday.

“Samuel and his party are trying to ram the Bible down people’s throats here and it must be challenged. You can’t dictate to the people of Crumlin about Protestant faith and its beliefs. The people of Crumlin are ratepayers and if they believe it’s okay to hold the tree-lighting event on Sunday, then they should be able to do so.”

Cllr Dunlop, a former Lord Mayor of the Antrim Borough Council who’s a member of every council committee, said he was speaking for those who wanted to keep Sunday holy.

“This event should be inclusive and open to everybody,” Cllr Dunlop said.
“Some people want to keep Sunday a Sunday and they have their Sunday school commitments to attend and their places of worship to go to.

“I know there’s a bit of carol singing about the place afterwards, and for some people that’s just against their faith on a Sunday. So I think it should take place on the Saturday, December 4, so that everyone can go and not feel they are letting themselves down.”

SDLP councillor Thomas Burns also thinks Saturday would be a better option – but for entirely different reasons.

“I think it would be better on a Saturday because there’s people out and about and the shops are open. There would be a buzz in the air. On a Sunday afternoon in Crumlin the place is as dead as hector and what would be the point in that?”

The SDLP councillor confirmed that the matter has gone back to the committee to clarify the date and will be discussed by the Council in full at a later date.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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