“There are no DUP trappings about the place..”

When is a DUP office not a DUP office? When it’s rates-exempt.. The Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon does some background checking on Nevin’s favourite address – 142A Main St, Bushmills.

In a statement responding to a Belfast Telegraph inquiry, the [Department of Finance and Personnel] said [Valuation and Lands Agency] was advised in 1998 that the office “was not an officially owned or run DUP office per se but an independently established and run office”.

from the Belfast Telegraph report

The DUP website lists the address against the name of MLA Ian Paisley Jnr and names Moyle DUP councillor Davy McAllister.

Mr McAllister said: “There are no DUP trappings about the place and we do not charge anyone who comes through the door to ask for our services. I am as happy as the day is long about what we have done. The advice centre is open to everyone.”

A Freedom of Information disclosure by the Assembly stated that Mr Paisley Snr is claiming £2,100 a year in rental expenses for the office.

In a statement responding to a Belfast Telegraph inquiry, the DFP said VLA was advised in 1998 that the office “was not an officially owned or run DUP office per se but an independently established and run office”.

The Agency was further told that “DUP members, as well as members of the public, have given generously in donations and volunteered help to assist with the office running”.

The valuer assessing the 1998 exemption application also spoke to Mr McAllister, who explained the purpose of the Bushmills Community Advice Centre, DFP said.

The application for rates exemption was made in the names of Alan Mullholland, chair of Bushmills Advice Centre Committee. A formal constitution was provided, signed by the chairman and the secretary, D McAllister, DFP stated.

The valuer’s report stated that “the new body have made application to become members of the Independent Association of Advice Centres. It is also intended that the body will apply for tax relief under charitable purposes and be registered as such…”.

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  • joeCanuck

    Maybe the next time the Policing Board sit down with the CC they might ask him if he has any plans to investigate thinly veiled hints of impropriety in public finances. In fact, perhaps the newest member of that body might take the lead in that, seeing how he has proclaimed that he personally is going to take control of the law and order agenda.

  • Does this “Independent Association of Advice Centres”, which sounds formal, actually exist? I’ve tried on the search engines, and can get nothing like it this side of Bremen. Nor is this “independent” office obviously known to Advice NI.

    So, correct me if I’ve got this wrong, and I’ll give myself a severe spanking: else that’s a bung of £40 a week for the last ten years from taxpayers’ money either for something that does not exist or towards a DUP boondoggle?

    Is this the smoking gun? Are the busies on the case yet?

    Nev for Head Lama!

  • Yes, Nevin does deserve the Andrew Gilligan Award For Exposing Irregular Financial Affairs of Long in the Tooth Egotists. Send him to London to get on Red Ken’s case and maybe we can be rid of 2 dinosaurs this year.

    The DUPers have only had their Executive for a year and already there is the persistent stink of impropriety, much of it coming from North Antrim. I can think of an eminent QC who could wield the broom in that particular constituency.

  • Ranger1640

    Go get’em DG

  • “There are no DUP trappings about the place and we do not charge anyone who comes through the door to ask for our services. I am as happy as the day is long …”

    Well, apart from it being a place apparently staffed by DUP folks, including two Moyle DUP councillors, not to mention an occasional MLA and a rare MP.

    The notice on the door (jpg) says closed until March 17 so they’re being happy somewhere else whilst the taxpayers cough up some rent and, presumably, some ‘incidental expenses’ and no-one benefits from the rates.

    I understand LSI (formerly VLA) folks are looking into this exotic political-charitable composite to see whether or not rates should be/have been applicable – ten years on.

    The law is designed to ensure that charities cannot be used by government to act as a front for political parties .. Cabinet Office

    Why was the former DUP logo removed? Was it because of the local partiality for ‘sinful’ line-dancing? 😉 What might these local DUPers know about the links between the Paisleys and Seymour Sweeney? Did the latter seek ‘free advice’ in #142A?

  • I hope I am not the only one to break the habits of a life-time and send thanks to Simon Jenkins for his piece, Bigotry and violence made Paisley and Adams the Taliban of Europe in today’s Guardian?

    Oh, the liberating joy of someone, somewhere breaking the nauseating pattern of nil nisi bonum de mortuis!

  • joeCanuck

    We have a thread on that, you must have missed Malcolm.

    On the reconciliation of Two Monsters…

  • Danny O’Connor

    Why is it only DUP representatives who have access to it then ,or perhaps it will also be offered to Daithi and Declan for constituency purposes if it is truly an “independant” association,or maybe it is just independant in the same way that the independant orange is independant .
    2k per year -10 years-20k-do this association have any audited accounts for this period.

  • Drumcairn

    When is an portacabin an extension to a house.Ask Billy Armstrong who neither has planning permission or building control approval for his office/extension.He to must have rates exemption.Has anyone heard Reggie commenting on Portaloo Billy?

  • joeCanuck

    No, Drumcairn.
    Like a few other party leaders, he’s too busy shitting himself.

  • pia lugum

    Portaloo Billy stated that big MLAs like him do not need to pay / apply for planning permission for exotic windows in their homes, conversion of farmhouses to beauty salons, erection of billboards in the countryside or sticking portacabins to the side of their houses.

    One assumes that only the lower-classs of citizen (ie non-MLA) like me and my family should pay for such services to be provided.

    I cling to the presently forlorn belief that there is still one honest civil servant somewhere in this whole quagmire who will force a few appearances in court to test all these MLA-friendly theories from Bushmills through Coleraine to Ballymena and Stewartstown!

  • Danny, why are Declan, Daithi and the UUPs ‘boycotting’ this “cross-community charitable venture” in the Kingdom of Moyle? What are they doing to conserve the gateway to the Causeway World Heritage site?

    Is the slightly political office closed for the Paisley grouse shooting season? Where are the pheasant pluckers? Where have the wild geese flown? Some say Spain – but surely not all of them!!

    What is Big Davy doing to merit his £9,500 plus expenses from Moyle District Council? Political associates have drawn attention to his rare appearances in the council chamber in recent times for the twice monthly bunworries.

    I’ve had a look at the minutes and I’ve not seen one listing since he turned up for the naming of the Sweeney development (doc) at the junction of the Priestland and Craigaboney Roads on June 25, 2007, just thirteen apologies. He seconded ‘The Cloisters‘.

    “I have absolutely no compunction about saying that I was perfectly happy to sign his papers, he was suited to the job …” .. Seymour ‘out of that DUP mould’ Sweeney [5 mins in]

  • E eye E eye yo

    Pia Lugum
    Couldn’t agree more but you are forgetting that to keep the peace process on track the P.S.N.I. and the N.I.O.turn a blind eye to the goings on at Stormont.Thats why Reggie has said nothing about Billy.Wonder if anyone has checked the bold Billys travelling expenses.
    If Billy has no planning permission then he has no building control approval and probably pays no rates.How can Reg leave him on the environment committee or even keep him as deputy whip?
    Maybe this is the image Reg wants to protray of the UUP.

  • Fair_deal, is it not unusual for a DUP politician to remain a party representative following allegations of impropriety or successful prosecution?

    As McAllister has been successfully prosecuted for benefit fraud should he be able to continue as a director of Bushmills Townscape Heritage Initiative?

    The Grant Scheme

    The project fund, from which grant assistance is awarded amounts to £440,000 from the HLF with an estimated common fund of £2million.
    • All awards for grant aid must be signed up within 2 years.
    • All grant assisted work must be completed within the period of this scheme.”

    Will any of this money be granted to owners/developers who’ve allowed their properties to become dilapidated whilst others have abided by the spirit of the conservation guidelines?

  • fair_deal

    “Fair_deal, is it not unusual for a DUP politician to remain a party representative following allegations of impropriety or successful prosecution?”

    I would have thought so.

    “As McAllister has been successfully prosecuted for benefit fraud should he be able to continue as a director of Bushmills Townscape Heritage Initiative?”

    I don’t know what the law on this is. I don’t know if convictions of certain offences means an automatic bar from directorships or whether it is at the discretion of the judge. Maybe one of the legal eagles on here can help on that point.

  • fair_deal, as someone who is close to the thinking of the DUP, are you surprised that the party apparently has remained silent on these serious issues?

    How are matters of discipline dealt with? Would you expect the Paisleys, the DUP councillors and linked party members to be brought before a court/committee of the party to explain their roles in the Bushmills affair?

  • fair_deal

    Nevin

    “as someone who is close to the thinking of the DUP”

    We’ve had this conversation, I am not a holder of any great secrets (or small ones for that matter).

    I don’t know what the disciplinary procedures of the party are (lost the small rule book I used to have).

  • We have indeed, fair_deal.

    It seems that no-one from the DUP fraternity is ‘minded’ to deal with what appears to be significant sleaze within their own ranks yet they can get steamed up about line-dancing.