Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Council left stunned after bug is found in an office

In safe keeping: Robert Smith

An Ulster borough council is reeling after a listening device was uncovered in the office of a member of staff.

The Mayor of Craigavon was called in to remove the device, and the Belfast Telegraph understands that the tapes are now - in the words of the Mayor, Councillor Robert Smith - "in safe keeping".

Council sources say that the tapes are being retained while a decision is being taken over possible disciplinary action, while the officer in question has sent a written apology to staff members.

He insisted it was part of an ongoing dispute on his part and added: "I am sorry if this caused any concern to any of you ... It was merely an 'aide memoir' for me during a very stressful time.

"It was not used to record any meetings ... and no device of such a nature exists nor will exist at any future stage in my room."

Mayor Smith has confirmed that he personally removed the Dictophone-type device from the office and that the tapes are " in safe keeping".

He added: "Other than that I cannot comment.

"It is all part of a current investigation within the council."

It is the latest in a line of staff crises at Craigavon Borough Council, culminating in two 'advisors' moving in to sort out the turmoil.

These are Robert Gilmore, former chief executive with Banbridge District Council and former Belfast City Council director Philip Lucas.

Mayor Smith said: "It will take time but it will be sorted out.

"Council services are not being affected by what is a sad state of affairs."

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