Council £75k plan is shelved

Craigavon Civic Centre.
Craigavon Civic Centre.

Craigavon Borough Council has shelved plans to splash out £75,000 to celebrate its legacy.

The proposals caused uproar when they were revealed recently and councillors voted against proceeding during a hastily-arranged meeting of a working group on Tuesday night.

Alderman Carla Lockhart, the DUP group leader on the council, formally proposed that the idea be removed from the table, and this was supported by the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Instead, Ms Lockhart wants the council to open up a new grants scheme to which community groups across the borough would be able to apply to.

“We as a party pride ourselves in achieving for our communities and the areas we represent. We have not and will not support this ridiculous figure of £75,000 on items such as fireworks, gala dinners for ex –Mayors and medals for councillors,” she said. “This is simply not our approach and therefore our party were the ones who put the brakes on this spend in money which was proposed by the UUP party.

“At the last Council meeting we as a party were utterly unhappy with the spend suggestions brought forward and requested an urgent meeting which took place on Tuesday night.”

Ms Lockhart emphasised that the council was aware of the feeling on the ground but ruled out giving the money to a charity.

“I can assure you that the DUP team remain committed to spending this £75,000 within communities and will only support initiatives and events that leave a legacy amongst our children, young people, and elderly population,” she said.

“Whilst some would suggest giving this money to a charity let me make very clear whilst we are sympathetic to any plea from a charity for this money, legally we are not permitted to fund charities and would as a council be taken to court and fined for such activity which would in the long term cost the rate payer an extortionate amount of money.”