MOYLE councillors clashed before agreeing to spend £5,500 of ratepayers’ cash on Christmas Lights in Ballycastle in an attempt to rescue the town’s retail future.
There were grumbles about the money being spent but it was eventually agreed to cough up the cash after the Chamber of Commerce said they could not do it.
The money will replace and repair almost half a kilometre of lights .
Cllr Seamus Blaney said ratepayers were being asked to pick up the tabe for the “benefit of the chosen few” and Cllr Robert McIlroy (DUP) said it would be unfair on other districts if Ballycastle alone had money spent on festiive lights.
But Cllr Joan Baird (Ulster Unionist) said she strongly supported the traders saying Ballycastle is Moyle’s main town and noting that many businesses have gone to the wall she said without new lights “if we don’t give the town support now there may not be a town to support next year”.
Cllr Padraig McShane (Independent) said the “town is on its knees” and said the public like to see it lit up at Christmas and he addd that local businesses pay “extortionate rates - the biggest in the North”.
Council Chairperson, Cllr Cara McShane (Sinn Fein) said neighbouring councils have set aside large amounts of money for Xmas lights and said in the current economic climate paying for the new lights was th least they could do for traders.
Despite the different views the Council will pay the cash.