There was controversy at Fermanagh and Omagh District Council as Sinn Fein accused the DUP of boycotting a special council meeting dealing with the issue of Brexit.

The meeting, which was originally scheduled for September but postponed due to bad weather, involved a presentation from Dr David Phinnermore, a Professor at Queens whose research interests are focused on European integration and cover in particular processes of EU treaty reform and their impact on the EU.

No DUP councillors were in attendance at the meeting but the party has said that “this was not a ‘boycott’ as some would portray.”

“This Council meeting had been rescheduled as a result of adverse weather conditions in September. It was the intention that our councillors would be in attendance on that date. However due to other diary commitments our council team were unable to attend the rescheduled date. Apologies were made by councillors on our DUP team,” a DUP spokesperson explained.

Sinn Fein’s Sheamus Greene, who originally proposed that a special Brexit meeting, has accused the DUP of having “head in sand syndrome.”

“It was very disappointing that the DUP felt the need to boycott this Council Committee meeting. I think it highlighted the seer arrogance of the DUP. What they missed in the presentation from Professor Phinnermore was a set of facts that can or will happen. It's a pity that the DUP are still suffering from 'head in the sand syndrome,” Greene stated.

At the meeting Dr Phinnermore gave a 40-minute presentation before answering a range of questions from a variety of councillors.

Councillor Greene stated that he was “very impressed with the detail and fairness of his presentation.”

“If there is a no deal Brexit which is becoming very likely given the stance of the DUP, can Arlene Foster explain to the people of Fermanagh and Omagh just how our business and farming communities will survive without the EU funding that is currently on offer?”, councillor Greene stated before concluding:

“Just what are the DUP playing at? It seems that they haven't got a clue apart from wanting to enforce a hard British border on the Island of Ireland again.”

The DUP hit back however and said that they are “fully represented” at Council when it comes to Brexit.

“This was not a ‘boycott’ as some would portray. The real issue is Sinn Fein’s boycott of the Assembly which is hurting every aspect of life in Northern Ireland. It’s time they reflected on that and start working for all living here, rather than pursue narrow party politicking. Our voice will be fully represented as part of the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Brexit working group.”