Council agree to extra spend

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CRAIGAVON Council have agreed to break from policy and give extra funding to Lurgan Show.

At Monday’s mid-monthly meeting of council Sinn Fein councillors put forward their objection to the extra spend of £150 to promote the centenary event in Lurgan Park.

Lurgan Show has already been given £9,000 towards the event. Their request for an additional £150 to design, produce and erect a banner in Lurgan town centre to promote the show had been considered by the Development Committee and referred to the mid-monthly meeting.

Sinn Fein Councillor Gemma McKenna told how she had been concerned when precedent was set at a previous meeting by acceding to a request for a banner for Portadown Festival.

The SF councillor said at the time her party had suggested council should fund a generic banner that could be reused at different events, but instead the council went for a specific banner.

“Now we’re going to spend more money on a banner that can’t be reused,” said Ms McKenna on Monday night.

Her party colleague Johnny McGibbon added: “They (Lurgan Show) were given £9,000 and now they’ve come back and asked for £150. What’s to stop another organisation doing the same?”

DUP Councillor Carla Lockhart said: “I think if this council denies them a banner at £150 it’s a sad reflection of this council.

“A precedent was set when a banner was agreed for another organisation, so Lurgan Show must get the same. It’s a very important show this year.”

Sinn Fein’s Mark O’Dowd said: “Nobody is denying the importance of Lurgan Show, but if the success of this show depends on a banner at £150 there’s a serious problem.”

Councillor McKenna said: “Because we went against the policy once, it defeats the purpose of having the policy because now you get people quoting the precedent.”

Councillor McGibbon reminded council that it needed to be wary of extra spending in the current climate.

A vote was taken on the proposal to provide a banner to promote Lurgan Show in the town centre. 12 voted in favour of the extra spend while seven voted against.