Belfast Telegraph

DUP insists gala dinner attended by chief constable was not a fundraiser

The DUP has insisted a gala dinner it hosted that counted the chief constable among its guests was not a fundraiser.

Sinn Fein had questioned George Hamilton's attendance at the North Antrim constituency dinner in Ballymena on Thursday night.

Responding to reports the dinner hosted by MP Ian Paisley was a fundraiser, the republican party expressed concern about a potential conflict of interest for the region's police chief.

The DUP has now moved to deny the event was held to boost the party coffers.

A party spokesman said: "Ian Paisley hosts an annual MP's Constituency Dinner. The event was attended by civic and political figures from across the community.

"It was not a DUP fundraising dinner."

Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove also attended the function in Ballymena.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "The chief constable was invited to last night's Annual North Antrim Constituency Dinner by the MP Ian Paisley and accepted the invitation as his guest.

"The chief constable made no financial contribution to, or at, the event and did not purchase a ticket as he was there as an invited guest of the MP.

"The chief constable and senior team are invited to attend a range of events hosted by elected representatives and are happy to consider opportunities for engagement at that level from any and all political parties."

Mr Hamilton sat at a table with Mr Gove and a number of senior business figures from across a range of organisations in Northern Ireland.

A PSNI source said at no time did the chief constable think the event was a fundraiser.

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