Belfast Telegraph

Council commend Ards officer for PSNI award

By Michael Bashford

The April meeting of Ards Borough Council was a short affair last week because of the Champions League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona.

As such, the Mayor of Ards, Councillor Jim Fletcher, quickly ran through the agenda.

Among the main topics of interest included congratulations to Constable Graham McMinn, who works in the Newtownards area, was recently named Probationer of the Year at the annual Policing with the Community Awards.

Comber Neighbourhood Watch group was also commended for coming third for their role in making Comber a safer place for residents.

Ards District Policing Partnership chairman, Councillor Mervyn Oswald, confirmed that the winners would be recognised with a special evening in August at the town hall in Ards.

The council also discussed a scheme which has been proposed by the National Association of Councillors which will offer a redundancy package to councillors who wish to step down from their role when the reduction in councils in Northern Ireland takes place in 2011.

The severance award would reflect past service particularly during the difficult times experienced by the Province when local councillors were often the first and only point of contact available to citizens for voicing their concerns.

At present there is a proposed award cap of £1,000 per-year per-councillor up to £20,000. While there are no plans to award severance to any local councillor who continues in public office, there is a strong case that local councillors who decide not to stand for re-election in 2011, but opt to remain in public office at a higher level, should be eligible for a severance award to “reflect their past service” in council.

The council also confirmed it will send a representative to the unveiling of memorial plaques to two Irish Victoria Cross winners from World War I.

The event, which is being organised by the Somme Association, will take place at Guillemont between September 2-5 later this year and will recognise the efforts of the 16th Irish Division during the war.

Belfast Telegraph


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