Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors have voted to retain a Bible reading at the start of their monthly meetings.
Speaking at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s annual general meeting on Tuesday evening, newly-elected 18-year-old Ballyclare Alliance Councillor Lewis Boyle proposed that it be dropped from proceedings.
Traditionally, the mayor’s chaplain gives a Bible reading ahead of Antrim and Newtownabbey council business. It is not mandatory for councillors to attend.
Cllr Boyle proposed the prayer and Bible reading be omitted from future council proceedings. His proposal was seconded by Airport Alliance colleague Cllr Andrew McAuley.
Antrim DUP Alderman John Smyth asked for a recorded vote. Glengormley Councillor Alison Bennington proposed to continue with prayers before every council meeting.
Cllr Boyle’s amendment fell after 17 votes in favour and 22 against.
Meanwhile, addressing the outgoing mayor ahead of the AGM, Elim Church pastor Rev Robert Ginn, chaplain to Alderman Stephen Ross, thanked members for the “privilege every month to read the Scriptures and to pray and support you during your year as mayor”.
He also spoke of providing a blessing over the council.