Sinn Féin - On Your Side

One million Pound to Spend a Penny?

1 November, 2004

The leader of the Sinn Féin grouping on Craigavon Borough Council has welcomed plans by community groups in the area to hold a protest at Craigavon Civic Centre against attempts by Unionist councillors to push through a massive £4.75 million upgrade and extension of the centre.

Commenting on these plans Mr O'Dowd said:

"With the proposed Review of Public Administration presently underway, the direct-rule minister in charge of the Review, recently advised all councils in the North not to embark upon any plans which could entail major expenditure. Obviously the logic behind that advice was based on the fact that the number of councils could well be cut from the current twenty-six down to possibly single figures.

"Now we have a situation where Unionists want to spend over four million pounds of ratepayers' money on proposed works at the Civic Centre. The bulk of this proposed expenditure is totally unnecessary. I believe the only essential work that should be carried is that in relation to disability access.

"Unionists, on the other hand, want to embark upon a course of action which will mean the Council having to borrow at least £2.75 million and sell off at least £1 million of Council-owned property.

"Even the proposed new toilet block and associated works within the Civic Centre is going to cost at least £1.3 million pounds which is extravagant to say the least. All this is coming at a time when we are already facing a potential rates rise of over 10% and I am sure that most ratepayers would question the wisdom of this additional expense." ENDS

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