Mullan: Unionists risk legal action if they continue to block Dungiven sports centre

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The SDLP Causeway Coast and Glens Council Group have appealed to Unionists Councillors to give the green light to the sports project in Dungiven.

Councillor Gerry Mullan who called for a recorded vote on the matter said: “The recorded vote presents an opportunity for a legal challenge by ratepayers which did not exist previously. If it is taken up any challenge will have the full backing of the SDLP group on the council.

“However, even at this late stage I would appeal to those 17 councillors who voted against the project to pull back from the brink and realise that there is a high risk they may be surcharged and barred from public office for several years.

“It is very difficult to see how any court could rule in their favour given that the shortfall for this project is £300,000 which would be paid out of Community Landfill Tax and if that doesn’t happen, due to unionist objections, the ratepayers will bear the cost of renovation of the existing facilities which could be in the region of £1million.

“This is exactly what happened on Craigavon Council many years ago when unionists refused to accommodate the needs of the GAA in that area. The Dungiven situation is very similar and when you consider the needs of people with disabilities it is more serious. The present facilities are hopelessly inadequate and the Causeway Coast and Glens Council is blocking its replacement even though not a single penny of ratepayers money is being asked for.

“The SDLP would much prefer to work with unionists in a power-sharing atmosphere seeking to meet the needs of all our people in a fair and equitable manner. That is one of the principles our party was founded on and we are fully committed to it.”