Moyle District Council’s Good Relations budget has been cut by a massive 46%.
Members of the Council were surprised and disappointed to hear the news during a presentation at last Monday night’s meeting,
Good Relations officer Jan O’Neill told councillors that while the department was expecting some reduction in funding, they had in fact “received an unprecedented reduction in funding allocation”.
“Each Council area suffered significant budget reductions, impacting on individual plans and on joint initiatives,” she added, saying that Moyle had been cut by 46%.
She said that some projects such as a Youth Cohesion Project using the Holocaust Education Resource and Peer Leadership initiative had been immediately suspended.
A planned sports programme called Celebrating Sporting Difference has been cancelled and some projects are continuing with a reduced or no budget.
Chairman of Moyle District Council Cllr Donal Cunningham said it was “sad to see the department bearing the brunt of these savage cuts”.
Cllr Joan Baird said that it was good to see that work was being done to keep the core function of Good Relations going and added that community associations would now have a major part to play in keeping things going.
Cllr Padraig McShane called the budget reducation a “suicidal cut”.
“We know there are problems with budgets but the real problem is with the politics,” he said.
“We are being asked to administer these cuts but yet taxes haven’t been decreased.
“We are having to pay for the debts of the government.”
Cllr Cara McShane said the huge cut was the “outworkings of cuts in the Assembly”.
However, there was one positive note - Christmas has not been cancelled!
Ms O’Neill informed councillors that Ballycastle’s Christmas lights switch on events including a community carol service and the Moyle Older Persons Christmas Grants scheme were continuing.