DUP Councillor Carla Lockhart has defended her record of attendance on the board of Libraries NI.
A recent Sunday newspaper reported that Cllr Lockhart had attended only one out of five board meetings during 2014-15, despite being paid £3,000 for her membership.
However, Cllr Lockhart was robust in her defence: “The role of a Board member involves much more than just Board meetings. On behalf of people right across Northern Ireland and in my own Council area I used the platform in Libraries NI to get better outcomes for constituents.
“I worked with libraries facing closure and was able to secure provision in Gilford Community Centre. I organised a Libraries Health Day in Lurgan library when over 1,000 young people attended with a very poignant revelation with one young person revealing to a health provider about suicidal thoughts and breaking down and this young person going on to get the help required.
“Over my five years on the Board I am more than happy to stand by my record of delivery. To judge my contribution on the basis of four missed meetings gives a false impression. Such statistics fail to show the scores of issues on which I worked directly with the Libraries NI management to resolve. I am happy that on each of the four occasions when I missed the meetings to provide a very legitimate reason and in fact on each of the occasions I was involved in constituency issues on the ground.
“I have a full-time job. Those Board meetings were held during work hours. I proposed and championed on more than one occasion that Board meetings should be in the evening to allow those of us who work to get there.”