A decision by the Mayor of Causeway Coast & Glens to refuse to hear a notice of motion brought forward by Independent Councillor Padraig McShane ‘hints at a desperation to offload the Dunluce Centre’ said the Glens councillor.
The motion, which was on the agenda of the full council meeting noted that ‘no sales or long term leases of any land or property assets be considered or acted upon until the conclusion of the extraordinary audit into land and asset disposals at Causeway Coast and Glens Council.
It also stated: ‘That further consideration is given to land asset disposals after the audit report and the potential legal actions arising from the same are considered by the full council.’
The Mayor, Councillor Richard Holmes decided not to proceed with the item after he deemed there ‘was no urgency’ in it.
Councillor McShane asked: “Given the significance of the motion and the fact that I had requested when submitting the motion that it would be heard tonight, why you are denying the opportunity for it to be heard tonight?”
The Mayor replied: “Councillor McShane, you know it is the Mayor’s prerogative to determine if a motion could be heard on the night unless it’s a case of emergency and I really don’t see the urgency in this motion to be quite frank so that’s why it is going to CPR (Corporate Policy and Resources).
“In terms of the issues you have raised in it, this council has been through annual audits, the Northern Ireland Audit Office found no issues, Moore NI have found no issues, CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) have been in and found no issues, PWC no issues, and we’ve even had the police’s crime branch in and no issues.
“The Northern Ireland Audit Office have been conducting a special audit at the request of a number of people and that special audit we thought at one stage may report back in the before summer last year, it hasn’t reported back at this stage so I don’t think there is any urgency in this motion, it can be discussed at CPR in three weeks time.”
Speaking afterwards, Councillor McShane said he had pointed to what he believed were several failings in the process.
He claimed the refusal to hear his motion hinted at desperation to offload the Dunluce Centre. He also criticised the contents of a statement issued by the council on Tuesday, March 1 in response to a BBC News NI article about the sale of the centre.