Jubilee fund of £250,000 called ‘ridiculous’

A council’s £250,000 budget to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee has been described as a “ridiculous” amount of money to “massage trade unionist insecurities about their identity”, Sinn Fein said.

lliance described the character as “excessive and obscene” and said it was “pulled out of nowhere”.

In January, the Community Services and Leisure Committee for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon ​​Borough Council agreed to hire an external events company to help organize activities to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with a budget of £250,000 set aside to celebrate the occasion.

But on Monday Alliance councilor Eoin Tennyson challenged that figure by offering a budget of £50-60,000 to hold a smaller-scale celebration, which was backed by fellow party councilor Peter Lavery.

“The Platinum Jubilee will be a momentous occasion for Her Majesty The Queen and indeed for many people in this borough,” Mr Tennyson said. “That’s why Alliance supported the DUP’s Notice of Motion in July for the Board to develop a program of events. It is an important part of our cultural diversity and it is right that we coordinate a program so that those who wish to celebrate the jubilee within our community can do so.

“However, Alliance will not be able to support the currently proposed budget and program. This is for a number of reasons, but primarily because the program’s budgeting process was flawed from the start.

“The £250,000 figure was pulled out of nowhere by task force advisers. There was no thoughtful budgeting process and no consideration of value for money for taxpayers. »

He described the spending as “excessive and obscene” and called for a balance to be struck between “hosting a positive and vibrant Jubilee celebration and the financial pressures we face”.

Sinn Fein councilor Catherine Nelson said the potential £250,000 outlay was “nothing short of ridiculous”.

“It will not please any sane taxpayer who ultimately foots the bill. The suggested expenses are detached from the reality of our constituents that we all represent,” she said.

She offered to revert to a £20,000 program originally agreed by Council.

DUP adviser Darryn Causby suggested neither the Alliance nor Sinn Fein were worried about ‘letting the facts get in the way of a good broadcast of the election’ before noting that the budget had been agreed months ago.

“This decision was made two or three meetings ago,” he said. “The conversation started in September. If those who are so concerned about this want to make a motion to rescind, I would be happy to vote against it at the next board meeting.

“Councillor Nelson can, if she wishes, decide who is or is not in her right mind, but in my opinion that is an appalling thing to say about any voter who may or may not support the Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen.”

Mr Causby then proposed an amendment that would see the task force procure an event company if it deemed it necessary. DUP’s Gareth Wilson said the £250,000 was a stipend and if the money didn’t need to be spent it wouldn’t be.

A council official said work should start as soon as possible on supplying an events company.

Mr Causby presented a proposal to ensure built-in flexibility in the procurement exercise and it was then presented to the prosecution where it was passed with 21 votes in favor and 19 vs.

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