Moyle Sports Advisory Commitee rocked by row

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The chairman of Moyle Sports Advisory Committee has threatened to quit following a disagreement over grants to ten local clubs.

Tom Christie made the threat following a meeting of the committee last week in which members couldn’t agree on the allocation of a £250 grant to each of ten clubs.

Only some of the clubs had met the criteria laid down by the Committee which entailed a £10 fee to accompany an application for the grant. Others didn’t and that was where members fell out.

Some members wanted to ignore the fee issue and pay everyone while two members, Cllr Seamus Blaney (Independent) and Cllr Robert McIlroy (DUP), were opposed and subsequently walked out in protest.

Mr Christie, who has been chair of the Committee for a number of years, said he felt uneasy about chairing a meeting in which there was a walk-out.

“I just don’t want to be in that position. It could be seen as a poor reflection on me and that’s something I don’t want. Ultimately, only those who had met the criteria got the grant and I support that.”

The matter also received a substantial airing at a meeting of Moyle Council.

Cllr Padraig McShane (Independent) didn’t believe the absence of the £10 should be a “big stumbling block” as he thought it was probably just an “oversight” and he said the clubs in question should be approached to send in the cash and then the grants given out.

Cllr Blaney said he was surprised at such a suggestion and that was why he walked out of the committee meeting.

Cllr McIlroy said the Council has to stick to its own criteria.

He said there should be an investigation into whether the criteria was adhered to in the past.

Cllr Wille Graham (Ulster Unionist) said if money was “paid illegally in the past” they should be paid back as it is ratepayers’ money.

Council Chairperson, Cllr Cara McShane (Sinn Fein) said they shouln’t be using a “sledgehammer to crack a nut”.

Council Chief Executive Richard Lewis said he was unaware of “any money being dispensed illegally”.

Council official Esther Muholland said she would look into the issue.