THE continued exclusion of the Howard Primary School as a polling station has been met with outrage by unionist politicians, pointing to the fact a polling station in Greencastle remains in use despite reports of a man entering the school brandishing a gun on election day in 2018.
With the Mid-Ulster Council elections to be held at the start of May this year, it was hoped by unionists the school would be restored to the list of polling stations for the first time since 2014.
However, the Electoral Office has confirmed that once more the school will not be used.
The controversy arose following confrontations at the primary school on the evening of the previous council elections five years ago.
It was then decided by the Electoral Office to stop using the Howard Primary School, much to the fury of unionists, but with the approval of nationalists.
And five years later the same views are held by politicians on either side of the divide.
DUP Councillor Clement Cuthbertson stated his belief it was “discrimination” and Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton has branded the decision “ridiculous”.
Mrs Barton also pointed out that Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Greencastle remains on the list, despite a proposal to move the polling station elsewhere, even after reports of a man entering the school brandishing the gun on the day of the West Tyrone by-election last May.
However, Sinn Fein Councillor Dominic Molloy said the polling station had previously offered a “very intimidating” environment for nationalists and says he hasn’t seen much evidence to say the situation would be much different in 2019.
Read more in this week's Tyrone Courier