25 May 2006 Edition

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Auditor to probe Lisburn Council

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler has welcomed the decision by the Six County local government auditor to scrutinise the accounts of Lisburn City Council after thousands of pounds were squandered on legal advice on a series of controversial issues.

According to Butler almost £20,000 was wasted by the DUP dominated council as it sought legal advice when Sinn Féin challenged it over a number of controversial decisions.

"We challenged their decision to fly the union flag permanently, their attempt to exclude same sex couples using the council's wedding room, their refusal to share power with Sinn Féin on the council and their refusal to implement the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages", said Butler.

Local government auditor Alfred Knox confirmed in a letter to Lisburn City Council's chief executive Norman Davidson his intention to investigate the misuse of public funds at Sinn Fein's request.

Speaking to An Phoblacht Butler said he hoped the auditor's decision to investigate the waste of public monies will make the council more accountable.

"We want to see that changed and it's clear the only way they will take heed is by bodies such as the Auditor or the Equality Commission investigating them. We hope that the Auditor takes the council to task over its waste of ratepayers money on matters that should have been implemented by the council".

Butler said the results of the legal advice sought by the council in the four cases only confirmed the stance taken by Sinn Féin.

"Discriminating councils, like Lisburn, should not be allowed to get away with wasting ratepayers money just to satisfy the sectarian and discriminatory instincts of sitting councillors", concluded Butler.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1