Coleraine’s Council chamber should not be ‘thrown open to any Tom, Dick or Harry’ according to veteran DUP Alderman James McClure.
His comments came at last Tuesday night’s meeting as members were asked to consider allowing the Coleraine Town Team the use of the Council Chamber for their meetings, as the room they usually use at Coleraine Town Hall is being refurbished to make way for the Tourist Information Centre.
Earlier this year members agreed to let the Policing and Community Safety Partnership the use of the chamber for their private meetings. At the time they also agreed that any other requests for the use of the chamber should be decided by members.
Highlighting the work of the Town Team, DUP councillor George Duddy said that the group should have the use of the chamber, he said: “The Town Team has grown, this is the ideal building for them to meet in. This is a public building and the ratepayers pay for it. The Town Team works for the good of the town, they market the town, therefore it is only right that we allow them.”
Disagreeing, Alderman McClure added: “The Chamber should be left for the use of the councillors. To throw it open every Tom, Dick or Harry will be wanting to meet here. We’re elected people, we should have the right to meet here and to keep that right.”
SDLP Alderman Maura Hickey agreed with some of Alderman McClure’s comments, but added: “I agree that any Tom, Dick or Harry should not be allowed to meet here, but we cannot be precious about this chamber.”
DUP Alderman Maurice Bradley said he agreed with all the comments, he added: “The Town Team are part of this Council therefore they should be permitted to use it.”
Describing the Town Team as ‘able individuals’ the Mayor of Coleraine, councillor David Harding added: “Every single one of them is valuable, they give so much to this borough, so I support the proposal to permit them the use of the chamber. On being put to a vote members agreed to allow the use of the chamber.