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Uni a ‘cold house’ for nationalists says group

Student group slams uni’s Jubilee closure

By Paul Ainsworth

THE closure of Queen’s University to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth is further evidence that the institution is a “cold house for nationalism”, it has been claimed. A republican student group has slammed the decision to mark the jubilee event by offering June 4 and 5 as additional leave days, and said it followed a number of other university decisions that established the ‘overtly unionist’ character of the South Belfast institution.

However, a local DUP councillor hit back at the claims, saying it was right the university mark this month’s occasion, which celebrates the 60-year reign of the British Queen.

The QUB Republican Congress, described as an “Irish Republican Socialist Student Society”, was officially recognised in the university last year. Spokesman Eamonn Ó Mollai said the closure decision was wrong.

“Along with the other policies taken by the university, in relation to campus visits by British Army staff and attitudes towards bi-lingual signage in the uni, this is evidence of a cold house for nationalism by Queen’s,” he said.

“We believe Elizabeth Windsor to be a social parasite, and for students to be taking a holiday in her honour is absurd. Just look at how she sat in Westminster recently preaching austerity, all the while wearing a million pound crown.”

Meanwhile, DUP Councillor Chris Stalford, a former Queen’s student himself, defended the closure decision.

“The Diamond Jubilee is a significant public occasion, saying thank you to the Queen for 60 years of public service. Queen’s received a charter from the Queen’s great, great grandmother, so it’s only fitting they mark this event, which many are looking forward to, even those from different political backgrounds.”

A QUB spokesperson confirmed this week’s closure dates, stating: “Following further consideration of the University’s plans to mark the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Management Board and the Operating Board have agreed to designate both the fourth and fifth of June as additional leave days.”

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