Council legacy ‘was spent on local groups’

Craigavon Civic Centre. PT03-213.
Craigavon Civic Centre. PT03-213.

Claims that Craigavon Borough Council splashed £44k on farewell parties have been dismissed by the new supercouncil who said the cash went to community groups.

An investigation by an online news organisation detailed a spend by all 26 of the former NI councils and claimed Craigavon had spent the most on farewell parties and events.

However a spokesperson for the new Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council said the £44.5k was distributed to more than 90 community groups in the borough.

In December last year the MAIL revealed Craigavon Council planned to spend up to £75k on a series of events to recognise the legacy of the Council.

The total budget to implement the draft proposals was £50,599 with an option for a fireworks event costing £25,000.

However it caused uproar and Craigavon councillors eventually unanimously voted to distribute the funds to community groups.

Events proposed included a battle of the bands, a concert, a tea dance, a reception for officers and former mayors, members and CEOs, a history exhibition and also plans to make a video of staff and members lip syncing and dancing to a Christmas song.

A spokesperson for the new Super Council said: “We’re delighted to confirm that more than £44,500 was successfully distributed to more than 90 community groups earlier this year as part of the legacy project to recognise the formal end of Craigavon Borough Council. The allocation of this funding followed a unanimous decision made by councillors in February as to how the bulk of the £50,000 earmarked would be best spent directly on communities.

“Community groups which directly benefited included Taghnevan Preschool Playgroup, which used the funds to purchase much-needed equipment, and Craigavon Historical Society, which produced a historical journal. Youth, farming, cultural, sporting and church groups of all denominations also benefited from the funding allocated as part of the exciting series of legacy events which were held.”