The three main civic buildings in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough will be lit up white and blue, for a seven day period from this evening Tuesday, as an expression of support and sign of solidarity with Israel following the Hamas terror attacks on Saturday, October 7.
The decision to do so was a controversial one, agreed upon by a slim majority in the ABC Council chamber back in October.
The proposal was passed on a split of 21-20 – in favour of the two main Unionist parties, with the Lord Mayor casting the decisive vote. Sinn Féin, Alliance and SDLP voted against the DUP proposal.
The Alliance Party’s Joy Ferguson said her party could not support “one nation over another”, and instead proposed a Book of Condolence “for all innocent victims and to illuminate Council buildings white signifying our desire for peace in the region and to protect all innocent human life”.
The original proposal garnered the requisite majority to render Councillor Ferguson’s proposal redundant.
Speaking ahead of the buildings being lit up this evening, Councillor Ferguson said: “It was disappointing that the alternative Alliance proposal to illuminate Council buildings white signifying our desire for peace in the region and to protect all innocent human life was not progressed.
“The October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas was wrong and the escalation of the situation since has resulted in thousands of lives lost, many of whom were children.
“The bombing and siege of Gaza is an illegal collective punishment on people not involved in the conflict. What is needed is a ceasefire and the immediate release of all hostages. International community led mediation and diplomacy must be established to ensure interim stability in the region.”
Speaking during October’s debate on the proposal, Sinn Féin Councillor Keith Haughian said: “Rigorous, impartial international leadership is required. To light up buildings blue – blatantly ignoring the suffering of Palestinians would be wrong.”
A Book Of Condolence has also been opened by the Lord Mayor, who said: “I wish to offer my profound sympathy to the Israeli people and to express my support and solidarity following the Hamas terror attacks on Saturday, October 7.
“The scale of the slaughter of innocent men, women and children has shocked the world. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost their lives in the attacks, and all the innocent victims in the Middle East at this time.”
The Book of Condolence is available to sign until Friday, December 22, 2023, at 5pm.