Belfast Telegraph

Davy right to blow a fuse over cost of celebs

By Gail Walker

Poor old Councillor Davy Browne. At last week's meeting of Belfast City Council, he made the sensible point that most of the "celebrities" who switched on the Christmas tree lights in front of the City Hall over the last few years were "embarrassing" Z-listers.

For his pains, Mr Browne was quickly branded 'Grinch' and 'Scrooge' for being the lone voice of 'bah humbuggery' as the council voted on a budget of £138,000 for this year's festivities.

The only problem is that he's right. In the last decade we've had Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, Bob the Builder, Same Difference and Scooby Doo, Shayne Ward and Zoe Salmon, Liz McClarnon and Calum Best, and Rachel Stevens.

Now, let's be generous and give Eamonn, his missus and Zoe a by-ball - after all, local people made good and all that. We shouldn't be too hard on Bob the Builder, (right) Angelina Ballerina and Scooby Doo - Christmas is a time for children. But the rest? You'd be hard pressed to pick them out of a police line-up.

Much merriment was made of Councillor Browne's "meanness" (which some might term prudence with the ratepayers' money) in wanting the budget cut to a puny £20,000. However, little was said about his comment: "We see Mickey Mouse councils bringing far superior people over and I think it's a total waste of money." A bit intemperate surely about smaller councils in Northern Ireland, but still wasn't he just saying that Belfast - the "capital" remember - isn't getting enough "bang for it's buck"? And isn't that a legitimate issue for debate?

Cllr Browne, in a rough and ready fashion, has asked some reasonable questions that will strike a chord with many of us.

So lay off those 'Grinch' jibes, eh folks ...

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