Republicans have voted to allow citizens and community organisations of Newry, Mourne and Down District to apply for Council funding to celebrate the platinum jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The royal head of state will mark the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne later this year as the longest serving British monarch of all time.
An extended four-day bank holiday will commence from June 2, after initial celebration performances between May 12 and 15.
Slieve Gullion councillor, David Taylor (UUP) welcomed the unanimous passing of his proposal at the strategy, policy and resources committee this week.
“I’m delighted that Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has agreed to establish a fund to mark the occasion of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee,” said Cllr Taylor.
“My party and other unionist colleagues felt it was important that citizens across the district were offered an opportunity by council to celebrate this momentous occasion.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has dedicated her life to service and is held in great affection by many people across Northern Ireland.
“I believe it to be very positive that citizens in my own district will now be able to access financial assistance from council to host events to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee,” he added.
At this time it is not known how much funding will be ring fenced for the celebrations in the district as NMDDC is yet to create that particular budget.
Sinn Fein councillor Bara Ó Muirí, who seconded the motion, stated that the unusual move from a republican party was made to extend the hand of friendship to unionist colleagues and community.
“This decision by our party to support this motion may raise an eyebrow or two,” said Cllr Ó Muirí.
“However, in the same vein we had asked members of the UUP and DUP to join the working group on Irish Unity, which was not taken up.
“Nevertheless, we have discussed this at length in the party and we believe that there is nothing to fear from people having street parties to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, and we understand that such an occasion of longevity will probably never come around again in anyone’s lifetime.
“Everyone has a right to celebrate who they want and in the way the want to,” added the Cllr Ó Muirí.