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Housing Executive funds Flanders excursion

10 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Councillor, Annemarie Logue (Crumlin) has voiced her concerns after the NIHE agreed to provide financial assistance to Antrim Borough Council to fund an excursion to Flanders in France for 30 people involved in Unionist Bonfire Committees.

Councillor Logue expressing her shock at learning of this funding said:

"At a time when Minister, Margaret Ritchie claims budgetary constraints are tight within the Housing Executive, it surprises me that £15,500 can be made available to send this Unionist group to Flanders. The rationale behind this trip may be noble in the eyes of the committee but the cost is both extortionate and immeasurable in terms of value for the Borough. Less expensive methods would have provided the same outcome.

"This funding could have a snowball affect as it could provide a precedent for other areas in the north to expect funding for like projects. As it is, Antrim Council already provides £2,000 towards Environmental management of each Bonfire and the Housing Executive already spend thousands of pounds of rate payers money each year cleaning up after the environmental destruction caused by the twelfth of July Bonfires.

"Given that social housing stress is at an all time high in the south Antrim area and much required houses sit empty and boarded up because of a lack of funding within the Housing Executive to renovate these properties, I feel that this proposed expenditure is in stark contrast with the Executive's failure to address the basic social needs and rights of people in the South Antrim area." ENDS

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