Councillors baulk at Gallipoli costs

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Somecouncillors have baulked at the cost of joining a Pilgrimage to Gallipoli in Turkey, Causeway Coast and Glens Council has heard.

At an estimated cost of £1,350 per person for the week-long trip some councillors felt it was excessive to ask Council to stump up for it.

Thje UUP’s William McCandless had originally proposed two names be drawn out to go and represent council.

This was countered by DUP councillor George Duddy, who felt council shouldn’t be ask to pay for the trip.

“I propose that if a councillor wants to go then they should pay their own way,” said Cllr Duddy.

“I fully support people going on this trip and paying their respects to the fallen, however we have talked about reducing costs so I don’t see why councillors cannot pay for themselves.”

His amendment was seconded by Cllr Philip McGuigan. He asked: “How can we agree to this when we haven’t a policy on conferences?

“This is simply an invitation, if we receive an invitation for councillors to attend the People’s Celebration of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa is Council going to pay for that, or what about the 1916 commemorations next year?”

Cllr Brenda Chivers echoed his sentiments.

“There are families out there who can’t even afford a trip to Portrush yet we are looking at council spending nearly £3,000 on this trip, I agree if they want to go they should pay themselves,” she said.

Alderman Gerry Mullan felt it was important council was represented.

“This is a very significant memorial in the 100th anniversary and because of the amount of Irish soldiers who lost their lives I feel it is important to send representatives from council from both traditions. I would like to propose Cllr Stephanie Quigley go to represent the nationalist community.”

Cllr Darryl Wilson agreed saying: “Around 250,000 Allied troops paid the ultimate price at Gallipoli and I think it is fitting to send two members to pay their respects on behalf of council.”

A vote was taken on Cllr Duddy’s amendment failed by 20 votes to 8. In a second vote, Cllr William McCandless’s proposal was carried.