Belfast Telegraph

Good or bad, £30,000 is too much to pay for a council logo

Editor's Viewpoint

People frequently disagree about what is a good or a bad design, and it is no surprise that there are strong opinions for and against the new logo proposed for Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The design, which has not yet been voted upon by the council, has cost £30,000 so far and is intended to represent visually the River Foyle, which links the two places. It has been described variously as " terrible" or as "the best of a bad bunch", and the opinions cross the traditional political boundaries.

Some Sinn Fein and SDLP councillors are fans of it, but unionists generally have the opposite view of the logo.

DUP councillor Drew Thompson thinks that it is "terrible" and a "waste of money", but the UUP's Derek Hussey feels that it manages to bring together Derry and Strabane.

In a situation where there is no clear right or wrong, the important point is the remarkably high cost of creating the new councils.

The payout of a £275,000 golden goodbye to Sharon O'Connor, the former chief executive of the old Derry City Council, after only three years in the post caused widespread objection.

Jaws also dropped at the £1.8m payout to departing councillors, some of whom received £35,000 each.

And there is much public consternation at the costly sums spent by some of the councils on staging farewell events, commissioning new mayoral chains and other forms of local aggrandisement which outsiders fail to appreciate.

One of the most ridiculous outlays was the £30,000 spent by the Newry and Mourne councils in trying to find a new identity. After all their work, they virtually returned to the status quo - a huge waste if there ever was one.

The public is far too tolerant of such excesses, and in a time of belt-tightening and the promises of value for money from the new councils, people will demand a much more stringent and common-sense policy from those officials who really ought to know better.

Belfast Telegraph


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