A notice of motion calling for a full report into the findings of the criminal case and that of the Health and Safety Executive following the death of Coleraine Borough Council employee Alan Devenney in July 2011, was debated behind closed doors last Tuesday night.
The motion, put forward by DUP councillor George Duddy, also asked for a report on what improvements have been made at Council’s Loughanhill depot since the tragedy.
The DUP man requested that the motion be debated in the open, with the press and public present, however a proposal to have the debate in committee was carried.
Outlining reasons why he felt it should be debated openly, councillor Duddy told the meeting that ‘both councillors and the public had a right to know what changes have been made’.
Opposing this, UUP councillor Norman Hillis, who proposed that the motion should be held in committee, said that as with other court cases and staff issues the motion should be held in committee ‘to be consistent.’
Speaking after the meeting, the DUP man said he was ‘disgusted’ with how the debate was managed.
“This was an opportunity to inform the public what measures have been put in place since this tragedy occurred - an opportunity to let the public see that Council have taken measures to ensure something like this won’t happen again.
“I can see no reason why this debate couldn’t go ahead. I just think it is sad that the public won’t get to hear this.”
Councillor Duddy questioned why the motion had been listed in the minutes as being ‘in committee’, claiming that this was not normal procedure.
On Friday a Coleraine Borough Council spokesperson stated that councillors received a report from senior officers on 22 October 2013.
“That report outlined the outcome of the criminal legal proceedings, it confirmed the level of sanction and the costs awarded. Councillors were also informed on 22 October 2013 that a civil legal case was now pending.
“Consequently a full debrief was not possible at that time, however, councillors were informed that further reports will be brought to Council in due course.
“Coleraine Borough Council is unable to make any further comment at this stage due to the pending civil legal proceedings.”