Plans to appoint the Glens of Antrim Historical Society to provide Visitor Information Services in Cushendall this summer have been halted until further information about the group is brought to local councillors to consider.
The issue was raised at Tuesday’s meeting of the Causeway Coast and Glens Council’s Leisure and Development Committee.
Expressions of interest were sought for an experienced operator to provide visitor information in Cushendall, helping to promote Causeway Coast and Glens as a tourist destination, with a budget of £20,000.
One company - The Glens of Antrim Historical Society - applied for the post. At Tuesday’s meeting, committee members were asked to approve the group.
However, Coleraine UUP councillor William McCandless asked for more information before agreeing to allow the group to administer a budget of £20,000.
“Who are the Glens of Antrim Historical Society? I could set myself up as Coleraine Hisitorical Society,” he said.
“This item was just brought before us tonight. We need to look at every penny and think about this very carefully.”
Chairing the meeting, Glens SDLP councillor Margaret Anne McKillop told members that two part-time members of staff operate the office from 10am - 2pm Monday to Saturday. It is, she added, a vital service.
Tourism mamager Peter Thompson also explained that the budget of £20,000 covered staffing, heat, light and resources.
Ballymoney UUP coucillor Darryl Wilson said he would like further clarification on what the money would be spent on.
Limavady SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan expressed concern that only one group had applied to provide the service. “It is a massive responsibility for them,” he said. “We need to find out if they need training to deliver this service.”
Dungiven Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey proposed that Council proceed with the recommendation for a year and then revisit the issue. Council Chief Executive David Jackson suggested a detailed break-down of costs be brought to the full Council for decision later this month.