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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Causeway Council faces full ‘forensic‘ audit

Causeway Coast & Glen’s Borough Council is to face a full ‘forensic’ audit into the management of its finances, after calls from both the SDLP Councillors and Independent Councillor Padraig McShane.

This follows a recently leaked document from January 2019 which revealed the level of council debt is around £75 million and that rates would have to see a 15% increase to run council.

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At the time of the leaked document, Cllr Padraig McShane said:

“It is important the local community has a chance to read the full text of the financial concerns in the leaked document spelling out a number of extreme concerns about the management of Causeway Coast and Glens Council. He also emphasised the need for Councillors to be able to view the text.

“Councillors can no longer release soundbites. Difficult decisions on investigations now need to be made. I reiterate the call for a full external forensic investigation.”

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That motion for an external audit was passed at yesterday evenings monthly council meeting with a majority. It’s understood however that before the recorded vote, several unionist councillors left the chamber.

Independent Councillor Padraig McShane spoke following the monthly meeting thanking the SDLP for bringing the substantive motion to the floor and acknowledged all those who voted for its progression.

“Our Council has questions to answer the ratepayers on a number of fronts. When we claim to act for the public, we must do so in their best interest.

“I can not sanction or support the additional charges to the people until a full external audit takes place.”

“The public must be hypersensitive to any efforts to call-in the process on whatever grounds. This can only be seen as a delaying tactic and one that is not in the best interests of the public.

“Elected members who attempt to block the process from here on must explain what they have to fear or hide. That explanation will need to be made to the long suffering ratepayers of Causeway Coast and Glens.”

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Posting comment on social media yesterday evening, the SDLPs Stephanie Quigley simply wrote:

“Tonight we are delighted that our motion for a full external forensic audit of our Council was agreed
‘May the truth set you free’.”

It’s understood a special council meeting has been arranged for next week.

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