Belfast Telegraph

£2,000 for Royal wedding bunting? It’s a total waste of money blasts unionist

By Lesley-Anne Henry

A £2,000 council cash donation for Royal wedding bunting for a street party has been slammed as a waste of money... by a unionist.

While nationalist members of Belfast City Council raised no objection to the money being spent to celebrate the wedding of William and Kate, UUP councillor David Browne has branded the hefty contribution an “absolute farce”.

The council had intended to split a £100,000 underspend in its 2010/11 budget equally among the four corners of the city for the delivery of area-based initiatives.

However, an additional £11,910 had to be forked out after elected members from the Shankill area told council officers they were unhappy with the distribution and tabled their own separate proposals — including the Royal wedding celebrations.

“This was meant to be for things that fall through the cracks,” said Mr Browne, who represents the UUP in the Castle ward.

“But Ballysillan bunting and stuff for a jubilee party? There is no more requirement for that than for a man on the Moon.

“Some councillors need to realise this and rein themselves in.

“It is an absolute farce and a shambles and some councillors should be ashamed of themselves. This money was not used on what it was meant to be used for.”

A further £2,000 is to be spent on the provision of hanging baskets on the Shankill Road.

And £1,000 is going towards the development of a booklet profiling the Lower Shankill and Glencairn. None of the nationalist parties raised the issue of the wedding bunting during a full meeting of the council this week.

Mr Browne added: “It is a shambles that there was almost £115,000 spent instead of £100,000 — that's nearly 15% over budget,” he told a full meeting of the council. “That's hardly some

thing that we can point to with pride. There are some wonderful projects, but this was not what I had envisaged.”

Elsewhere £3,000 was given to the West Belfast Partnership Board to help facilitate the delivery of two conferences.

Money for west Belfast was also distributed to the Upper Andersonstown Community Forum (£4,500), the Clonard Residents’ Association (£2,000), Relatives for Justice (£1,200) and the Black Mountain Shared Spaces (£3,000) among other projects.

Meanwhile, in south Belfast £12,500 has been given to the Lisburn Road Retailers’ Association for marketing support. The traders have also put in £12,500.

In the east of the city £7,500 will help fund travel to the United States to meet potential investors and secure donations of £100,000 or more towards the development of a Network Centre on the Templemore Avenue School site. Around £12,000 will go towards the installation of alley gates in the Pottinger and Victoria areas.

In north Belfast the money will install two additional alley gates (£14,000) at Thorndale Avenue and Alexandra Park; to fund a families fishing and outdoors club (£1,500); a landscaping scheme to improve a section of Ligoniel Road (3,205.46), a multi-cultural cross community event for older people (£1,000), and the purchasing of a marquee for Friends of the Waterworks (£1,500).

Belfast Telegraph


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