SF say no thanks to Sheriff invite

Belfast's new High Sheriff will be sworn in at 2pm on Friday at the City Hall – but Sinn Féin have decided to avoid the event.
UUP councillor for the Castle area, David Browne, will relish his new duties as protector of the monarch's interests, a largely ceremonial role which Sinn Féin have dismissed.
Sinn Féin Councillor Michael Browne told the Andersonstown News of Sinn Féin's position in relation to the role: “The position of High Sheriff is not one that we support. It essentially involves protocol and ceremony and there really is no practical work involved unless you count escorting members of the British royal family when they visit.
“Naturally this really isn't a position that Irish republicans would be interested in.”
Michael Browne said that the party did receive an invite to the event which made a change from previous years. “Last year, for example, it was DUP councillor Ruth Patterson who held the position and we weren't invited to the swearing-in ceremony.
“Davy Browne, however, is one of the more approachable members of the UUP and Sinn Féin have always had a civil relationship with him even if there wasn't always a perfect working relationship.” He added that the party wish Councillor David Browne well.
“Although we don't support the position on a political level, we wish Councillor Browne well and wish him success because we know that he will cherish the office.”
The office of High Sheriff ranks third in the Council hierarchy after Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor. The Local Government (Ireland) Act of 1898 provided for the position which runs for one calendar year.
It is largely accepted that the role now confers virtually no power and is merely a tradition.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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