Council warned in wake of Paisley 'fundraiser'

By Peter Winter


By Peter Winter


Northern Ireland's Audit office has warned Causeway Coast and Glens Council to “carefully consider” whether events it attends in future have a political dimension.

The recommendation was contained in a report on the £1500 of ratepayers cash spent on a dinner organised by Ian Paisley at Ballymena hotel in 2017.

Billed as a “community and business engagement dinner” the council has insisted the occasion was a valuable networking opportunity.

But, as Local Government Auditor points out, claims the event was a political fundraiser have since prompted an investigation by the Electoral Commission.

Councils are not permitted to fund political parties.

In her report delivered to Causeway Coast and Glens' financial oversight committee, Pamela McCreedy said her review confirmed that the £1500 was paid directly to the hotel and was “correctly recorded in the accounts.”

She added: “there were no concerns with the truth and fairness of the accounts in relation to this issue.”

Ms McCreedy went on to say she considered investigating further, but because the Electoral Commission's ruling was imminent she would take no further action “at this stage.”

*Read the full story in this week's Chronicle.

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on Alpha Newspaper Group

Characters left: 1500