Watson furious at travellers’ ‘rights’
Thursday, 7 March 2013
An outspoken Antrim councillor has courted more controversy this week by vowing to fight new proposals which give members of the Travelling Community rights to live in the countryside denied to their 'settled' neighbours.
Ulster Unionist Adrian Watson, who is no stranger to making occasional caustic remarks about minority groups, has branded the changes to Planning law 'discrimination', adding that they would be a 'slap in the face' to young families unable to get permission to set up home in a rural setting - even if they were born and raised there.
It is not the first time that Councillor Watson has set out his stall against travellers.
But after weathering a political storm in 2006 when he branded families who 'camped out on private property for cash' the 'scum of the earth' he selected his words more carefully when he lobbed the political hand grenade into Thursday's meeting of Antrim Borough Council.
Ironically, the changes to strict Planning rules were confirmed just moments after the chamber discussed a Draft Rural Housing Action Plan, which underlined just how difficult it is to cut through the red tape in order to build a new home in the country.
This is apparently not the case for travellers, though, who in Mr Watson's opinion, have been given special privileges to live in places outlawed to the rest of society.
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