Spotlight on local councils

Both Mick and Fair Deal have threads currently running on disputes at local government level between nationalists and unionists. One organisation with the power to punish local councillors for wasting public money is the N Ireland Audit Office, which has been called upon to formally investigate the activities of one of the largest unionist-controlled councils, namely Lisburn Council. The Equality Commission, which can also take cases against government bodies, has already launched an investigation into this Council.

  • yerman

    So this isnt that the Audit Office will take action against Lisburn, or even is likely to take action, but has been asked to take action by, yes you’ve guessed it – Sinn Fein.

    Another quality scoop for DI.

  • Chris Donnelly

    yerman

    The story was actually carried by the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph as well. Unfortunately, neither papers will allow for unsubscribed access to archives.

    Perhaps you should give credit to DI for permitting this facility?

  • Pete Baker

    If the story is a month old, Chris, which it appears to be, has the NI Audit Office responded to the SF councillor’s call for an investigation?

  • yerman

    Chris,
    Ok, so you were making use of the ever gracious DI’s website. I assume that’s all courtesy of the large amounts of Government money they’ve been given. Its only right then that we can see it – we’ve paid for it already.

    It doesnt change the fact that its hardly news that a Councillor has called for something to be done – its not that there actually is any action being taken.

    A nice attempt to have a pop at Lisburn while tying it in to the other threads.

  • Cataegus

    Let me give you another example of what I would regard as an abuse of office. Someone wins a planning application on appeal and a political party then challenges the decision in court. The judge upholds the decision of the Planning Appeals Commission, the applicant has to pay his own costs and the council theirs.

    So some individual is personally out of pocket and the council and thus the rate payers are out of pocket and the political organisation in pursuit of clear political objectives is funded!*?!

    This happened to someone I know. I don’t want to make this a party political point, but I think there is something very wrong that this can happen.

  • Cataegus

    Sorry should have made clear that the political party used the council to pursue their self promotion.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    A couple of years ago Lisburn Council ran a competition for an artwork which would be shown when the council opened its new arts centre, the Island Arts Centre.
    Internationally renowned artist Ian Joyce, an English man, now living in Donegal won for his proposal for a paper sculpture involving a representation of that famous Ulster landmark, Errigal in Donegal.
    The sculpture was erected but even before the opening it was taken down again. Apparently a unionist councillor or an official of that persuasion noticed some Irish words in the sculpture. This wouldn’t do at all in unionist and British Lisburn.
    The council didn’t give a reason for the withdrawal of the sculpture and to my knowledge has yet to pay the balance of the prize to Mr Joyce, some £10,000.
    Lisburn, a city for everyone?
    Anyone?

  • Rafa Benitez

    “Among these was the ban on same-sex couples using the council’s marriage suite, the insistence on the Union flag being flown from the council office on a yearly basis, the omission of Sinn Féin from lead roles on council committees, and opposition to Irish-language projects.”

    Lisburn sounds like a beautiful place…..

  • It’s more than a bit hypocritical of Sinn Fein to complain about the costs of legal advice when they’d be the first ones to challenge the council on the policies had they not sought legal advice and changed them, thus probably forcing the council to waste more money on lawyers.

  • DK

    “ban on same-sex couples using the council’s marriage suite”

    I think that they can & the ban was overturned.

    I’ve heard Lisburn city centre is really nice on a Saturday, but I’ve never been. The council, I suspect, have minimal impact on this though.

  • Ziznivy

    Well done Lisburn BC for

    1) attempting to keep unseemly ceremonies out of your properties
    2) flying the flag of the United Kingdom on public buildings in the United Kingdom
    3) minimising the role of a noxious political party linked with criminals who would seek to destroy and subvert your state
    4) refusing to squander money on a language that is consistently used to bolster a nasty and exclusive brand of ethnic nationalism.

    Nice enough place. Still shouldn’t have got city status though.

  • ncm

    check this link: http://www.irelandclick.com/news/news.cfm?id=19044

    It’s interesting that the councillors in Lisburn feel that while discriminating against people and abusing their human rights, they also don’t have to obey the law of their beloved (ahem) great britain. One day these people will have to treat everyonoe with equality. What a nightmare!

  • fair_deal

    Who was it telling them when the policies were adopted that it was illegal? Sinn Fein Councillors with no legal expertise. So rather than take a political opponents word for it they checked with professionals. How is that irresponsible?

    When told policies didn’t meet the legal requirements the policies were changed. How exactly is that irresponsible?

    PS It was Alliance that pushed for the cherry room not to be used for same sex civil partnerships ceremonies not the Unionist parties.

    PS2 Chris, I welcome Sinn Fein’s new found faith in the Local Government Auditors. Will they now ask certain councillors in Newry and Mourne to drop their appeal against the Auditors decision surcharging them for unnecessary legal costs?

    After all they got legal advice, IGNORED it when it didn’t say what they wanted, then foolishly fought it in court all at the ratepayers expense.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4071664.stm

  • ncm

    Who was it telling them when the policies were adopted that it was illegal? Sinn Fein Councillors with no legal expertise. So rather than take a political opponents word for it they checked with professionals. How is that irresponsible?

    What is irresponsible is pushing through measures prohibiting same sex marriages in the first place. Taking legal advice is a good idea. Trying to run a council by operating outside the law is not.

  • fair_deal

    ncm

    “prohibiting same sex marriages in the first place.”

    Get your basic facts right. They didn’t ban them.

  • Michael Shilliday

    This story isn’t a month old, its probably about 10 years old. SF have been crying about Lisburn City Council since they first joined it, and guess what – nothing has been done by any quango. Perhaps theres a reason for that Chris? Changing the rules to suit SF just isn’t going to happen, either they get people to vote for them or they start making some friends (perhaps some new candidates would be in order?)

  • Dec

    Changing the rules to suit SF just isn’t going to happen, either they get people to vote for them or they start making some friends (perhaps some new candidates would be in order?)

    So those rate-payers who vote for Sinn Fein don’t count, eh Michael? How does that read in Arabic or Bengali, I wonder.

  • Rafa Benitez

    “#

    Well done Lisburn BC for

    1) attempting to keep unseemly ceremonies out of your properties
    2) flying the flag of the United Kingdom on public buildings in the United Kingdom
    3) minimising the role of a noxious political party linked with criminals who would seek to destroy and subvert your state
    4) refusing to squander money on a language that is consistently used to bolster a nasty and exclusive brand of ethnic nationalism.

    Nice enough place. Still shouldn’t have got city status though.
    Posted by Ziznivy on Apr 25, 2006 @ 11:21 AM

    Indeed. It would seem that that money saved on point 4 was ‘squandered’ on point 1.
    So is money best put into heritage, or best used in trying to keep a certain type of person and inclination ‘in his/her place’?
    What is the precondition required to gain city status in NI. To have more than 1 street?