Debate over grant application for commemoration events

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Ballymoney and District Cultural and Heritage Society have submitted further information to Council regarding its funding request for ‘The Great War Remembered 1914-2014’ event on August 1 and 2.

During a recent Leisure and Amenities Committee meeting, members heard: ‘At the request of Council further information has been requested from the Group.

‘The Group has estimated the expenditure now to be £40,070 and grants from various bodies amount to £30,000 and 3,000 Euros. Council is requested to consider the level of grant to be paid.’

In response Cllr John Finlay asked what the rest of the groups in the scheme were getting.

The Director explained that £1,200 was the amount given from the Community Festival Fund however added: “Council is over and above the budget set for the grant scheme.”

Cllr Ian Stevenson suggested that the money be given to the group and taken out of reserves. However Cllr Roma McAfee expressed concern over the amount being given to this specific group.

She explained: “My concern, and it is the concern of a lot of different people in the local community, is that this one particular group continues to be getting money.

“As a councillors I have to bring the concerns of the local community to this Council.”

Cllr John Finlay explained: “This is not just any event, it is ‘the’ main event that this Council is doing for the WW1 Centenary. It is a joint event with Council and the local Royal British Legion.”

Calling on the generosity of Council, Cllr Philip McGuigan highlighted that a Northern Ireland cycling group were holding a youth event soon and asked for it to be put on the agenda for funding adding: “I hope this Council is in the same Christmas generous mood as they are here today.

“The event will attract cyclists and parents from all over the world to the local area.”

Agreeing Cllr McAfee concluded: “Also taking into account of this generous mood, I hope Council will be able to find money in the reserves to ensure Halloween and Christmas events are funded well.”