“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…”.