CC&G: Sinn Fein call-in is a ‘political stunt’ – Ian Paisley
DUP MP for North Antrim and self confessed bike fan, Ian Paisley has described Sinn Féin’s legal challenge to Causeway Coast & Glens Council decision to approve the allocation of the Tourism Events Recovery Fund as ‘a political stunt’, writes Gillian Anderson, Local Democracy Reporter.
The fund was established to assist event organisers who wanted to run their event in full or in a reduced capacity in 2021 as well as those who wanted to postpone and it was unanimously supported by councillors including the eligibility criteria and budget allocation.
Mr Paisley said: “It is bitterly disappointing that Sinn Fein councillors would seek to block the work being done across the area, on a cross community basis, that will sustain these organisations and ensure that when our economy and country opens up, they will be able to lay on local successful events.
“I am all for ensuring that each event is fairly funded and supported, and I don’t know any councillor who wouldn’t agree with a tweak here and there to maximise the impact of local government support. But the plan to throw the baby out with the bathwater is clearly just a political stunt that purpose would be to leave the local economy like a wasteland.”
£319,675 has been allocated to events that have indicated they still plan to go ahead later in the year if Covid restrictions allow.
Limavady’s Stendhal Festival will receive £99,000, Supercup NI £100,000, Ballylough Living History Trust £70,125 and the Armoy Road Races £50,550.
A sum of £59,887.50 has been awarded to the Coleraine and District Motor Club, who organise the North West 200.
The remaining £16,976 will be shared between the Heart of the Glens Festival, the Co Londonderry Agricultural Show, Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and North Antrim Agricultural Show.
A council officer explained that events that are not taking place this year were getting money awarded for two purposes – to protect and sustain the event and to invest in their event for the following year to ensure the event doesn’t die off.
Local Democracy Reporter
Gillian Anderson , Local Democracy Reporting Service