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Sinn Féin call for Auditor to investigate Lisburn Council

29 March, 2006


Sinn Féin Lisburn Council group leader Cllr Paul Butler has written to the Local Government Auditor asking him to investigate Lisburn Council's spending of over £20,000 of ratepayer's money to pay for legal advice in relation to civil partnerships, proportionality and membership of Council Committees, the Irish language and the flying of flags at the Council headquarters, all of which are controversial decisions created by unionist councillors who are opposed to the equality agenda.

In relation to civil partnerships and proportionality and the exclusion of Sinn Fein councillors from Council Committees the Council sought legal advice and were forced to change their policies.

Sinn Fein councillor Paul Butler said:

"Sinn Féin is determined to confront and challenge discrimination wherever it exists. These two victories forcing Lisburn Council to reverse their decisions came at a cost. £17,000 was wasted by Lisburn Council on obtaining legal advice to reverse decisions that should never have been taken in the first place.

"Ratepayer's money has also been spent opposing the implementation of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages giving recognition to the Irish language and on legal advice in relation to the flying of the union flag at the Council's headquarters.

"This is a scandalous waste of ratepayer‚s money which should be investigated by Local Government Audit Office.

"Sinn Féin has been campaigning for improved youth and leisure provision across the Lisburn Council area, from Dunmurry and Lagmore to Glenavy. When I think of how much better use £20,000 could have been put to, it makes me very angry.

"The DUP's agenda on Lisburn Council has been one of promoting exclusion and fomenting division. We are anxious to work with the many progressive people within Unionism who are equally eager about striving to create a Lisburn which is truly inclusive and welcoming for all its citizens. But for as long as the DUP continue to pursue a sectarian agenda, Sinn Féin will challenge their actions and take a stand for equality." ENDS

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