Thousands of pounds has been spent on a new Coat of Arms for Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, it has been claimed.
The lavish symbol has been designed and prepared by the College of Arms in London and aims to reflect all three of the areas in the legacy councils.
Prior to the amalgamation of the councils all three had their own Coat of Arms and some councillors felt that it was necessary to have a unique Coat of Arms for the new council.
With the council motto “in Council we progress” engraved in latin “in concilio progredimur” the Coat of Arms has various iconic symbols including a unicorn from the old Lurgan Borough Council Coat of Arms, a primatial cross and Master McGrath.
According to Council minutes members requested that the colour of the apples be changed from gold to red and that the shamrock have three leaves. A sheaf of corn representing linen in the Banbridge area was replaced by shuttles and a spindle. There was some concern about the illegal use of the Coat of Arms also.
Despited several requests to the new council the exact amount of ratepayers cash spent on the new Coat of Arms was not forthcoming yesterday. Sources told the MAIL the figure runs to thousands of pounds.
Lord Mayor Darryn Causby admitted he could not recall the amount spent but said the new council needed the Coat of Arms, that it was normal proceedure and that it was unanimously supported by all parties at Monday night’s Council meeting.
He said it would be used for civic events and as a gift to foreign heads of state. “It is a good job. Every party has agreed to it and they have all seen and liked it,” he said. “There was no dissent or split votes.”
However SDLP Cllr Joe Nelson said that his party had not been in favour of the spend. “We had wanted an opportunity for the council not to be bogged down in pomp and ceremony and spending money on things like aldermens’ robes and Coats of Arms. We do not need to invest in these trappings,” he said.