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Council to hold Inquiry into removal of confidential material from amenity site

13 March, 2008

Newry and Mourne Councillor Pat McGinn has told the recent meeting of the Technical and Leisure Services Committee that the unauthorised removal of confidential SELB papers from the local Camlough Amenity site by a local elected representative and others, had compromised Newry and Mourne Council and staff.

Cllr McGinn said:

"We have a policy about the removal of materials left in our sites. That policy was completely ignored by that elected representative and others who removed these highly sensitive papers, some which I am informed by the SELB were subsequently destroyed and some passed onto other unauthorised individuals.

"I like the families who have contacted me demand the full facts and truth as to the entire handling of this issue. Many of us believe it has been handled disgracefully from start to finish.

"It is my information that the Council secured the site and removed and destroyed all remaining papers. I am also led to believe that this action was managed and agreed by the appropriate Council and Education Board Officers.

"I cannot understand as to why those who entered our Amenity site some days before failed to inform our Council. If they had done so then as per protocol and what happened on the Monday, the site would have been secured, all papers removed and destroyed in a controlled fashion. More importantly all agencies including the SELB and the PSNI would have been informed immediately.

The Sinn Fein Councillor confirmed that the Council would now hold a full Inquiry into the removal of the documents. He also said that Newry and Mourne Council as a matter of urgency also was issuing a public statement reiterating to the public its policies on scavenging and the removal of materials from all Council amenity sites.

"I have asked that video evidence from the site can also be viewed," said the Councillor. ENDS

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