Still no costs revealed on ‘booze and snooze’ junket

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

MID-ULSTER Council has still failed to confirm the costs associated with a 'booze and snooze' junket to an awards ceremony in Dublin.

The Council used ratepayers' money to fund the attendance of four Councillors and one Council Officer on a night out in Dublin.

The five were able to enjoy a drinks reception at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Dublin Airport, a three course meal and music and dancing to finish off the night.

All five were also permitted mileage expenses and overnight accommodation.

The meal cost a princely 175 euro, or £150, per head, though the Council has still not revealed the additional costs of accommodation and mileage.

The Council representatives were making the journey down to the LAMA Community & Council awards on Saturday, 4th February, for which the Seamus Heaney Centre was nominated in the 'Best Heritage Project' category.

It is standard practice for the Council to send just two representatives to such functions, often the Council Chair or a Committee Chair and a Council Officer, as was the case when Castlecaulfield won the Britain in Bloom competition in Birmingham.

However, it was decided on this occasion that five people were to attend.

Attending the event were Council Chair Trevor Wilson (UUP), Deputy Chair Sharon McAleer (SDLP), Cllr Dominic Molloy (SF) and Cllr Martin Kearney (SDLP), as well as the Director of Culture and Leisure, Anne-Marie Campbell.

The Courier understands that four of the five Mid-Ulster Council members and staff who availed of the free trip stayed overnight.

It is understood that Cllr McAleer did not avail of the offer of free accommodation.

Objections had been raised at the January meeting of Mid-Ulster District Council by the DUP's Kim Ashton to paying for five people to attend the ceremony, however, nationalist Councillors in the chamber voted her objection down.

Mid-Ulster District Council has defended sending five representatives to the event.

They said: "Given that we were the only Council from Northern Ireland to have been shortlisted in any category, it was important that this significant achievement was recognised by our attendance."

However, the event did not go as Mid-Ulster Council would have hoped, with the Seamus Heaney Centre in Bellaghy failing to win the award, losing out to a project in County Westmeath.


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete