Mayor’s US trip under scrutiny at council

A £4,000 spend to take the Mayor to the USA for five days was scrutinised by councillors at recent committee meetings.

However, after councillors were given details about the nature of the trip they were in agreement that it was a justified use of taxpayers’ money.

At the last meeting of council’s development committee it was revealed the Mayor of Craigavon’s Sister City La Grange had extended a invitation to the Mayor of Craigavon for a civic visit.

Because of financial constraints, the Mayor said she would only be able to attend subject to a strong business element to the itinerary.

At this Monday’s council meeting, Sinn Fein Councillor Gemma McKenna, who raised the issue of the £4,000 cost of the trip at the original development meeting, said: “I wanted to be assured we are spending rate payers’ money on something viable.”

Development Director Olga Murtagh said the trip was an opportunity to showcase investment opportunities in Craigavon and strategic visits, including a number of health-related businesses, had been lined up.

The Mayor said: “I’m a homebird and I don’t particularly like leaving Northern Ireland but I want to assure members I will be trying to represent Craigavon in the best light I possibly can.”

Councillor Lockhart will be accompanied on the trip by a Sister City officer and an economic development officer.