The Ulster Unionist group on the Causeway Coast & Glens Council has rejected attempts by Sinn Fein to introduce claims of sectarian motivations into the decision making process following the Council’s decision not to provide over £300,000 of funding for a leisure complex in Dungiven.
A group spokesperson said: “When Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council was formed, one of the first issues presented to us was a number of leisure facility projects, which had been proposed by the previous four Borough and District councils.
“These included two major projects; one in Dungiven and another in Ballymoney.
“The new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council took a decision – put forward by the Ulster Unionist grouping – to place a moratorium on any spend on sports facilities until a need analysis could be carried out of the new Borough, to ensure that any investment was made where it was most needed.
“The Dungiven project was due to receive sizeable funding from Stormont’s Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure (DCAL). Indeed the original plan was that a £7.5-9m facility would be built for a town of approximately 2,500 people. As a group we made our position very clear from the outset, that we would be happy for council to proceed with the Dungiven project provided that we did not have to invest in it, due to the fact that this would have been wholly unfair to those other areas which are in need. In other words, if DCAL was to wholly fund the Dungiven project, we were content for it to proceed.
“It should also be noted that we opposed the proposed £4.5million leisure project in Ballymoney for exactly the same reason that we opposed Dungiven. The new Causeway Coast & Glens Council should not be saddled with significant expenditure from previous councils until an irrefutable case based on need, had been made.
“We utterly reject any attempt by Sinn Fein to introduce claims of sectarian motivations to the decision making process. The fact is that it is our duty to scrutinise each project presented to us which will use the ratepayers’ hard earned money. We have done this, we will continue to do this and we will make no apology for doing so.”