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Legal Action against Council’s name cost ratepayers £3,000

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Ulster Unionist Councillors on Causeway Coast and Glens Council have criticised the actions of six Councillors from other parties who took an unsuccessful legal action to ‘call-in’ the decision of the new Council to call itself Causeway Coast and Glens Council, at a cost of almost £3,000 to ratepayers.

3 DUP, 2 TUV, and a PUP Councillor requested the ‘call-in’ procedure, which requires a council to obtain the opinion of a practising barrister or solicitor, where the review has been requested on the grounds that the decision would disproportionately adversely affect any section of the inhabitants of the district.

Cllr William McCandless, Ulster Unionist Party Councillor for Coleraine said: “A decision to continue to use the name of Causeway Coast and Glens, which was used during the shadow council period, was backed by a majority of councillors in a democratic vote in March of this year. It really beggars belief that a small group of 6 Councillors could not accept a democratic decision and felt the need to seek a legal opinion on the decision at a cost of almost £3,000 to the ratepayers of the borough.

“We are disappointed and angered that six members of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council “called in”/ legally challenged a decision surrounding the name of the new council. None of their reasons stacked up. Of all the things the new Council has to do to gain the respect of the general public, spending almost £3,000 to get legal advice on whether to challenge the decision to name the Council Causeway Coast and Glens, was certainly not one of them.

“The fact that this decision was ‘called in’ has also delayed progress in our corporate branding and the process of implementing change as we attempt to adapt to local government reform in the most efficient way.”

Cllr Joan Baird who represents the Glens district electoral area on the new Council added: “Councillors have a duty to address issues which are of importance to the people of the Borough, and to be careful stewards of the ratepayers’ money. This action certainly falls short of what is expected by those who live within the Causeway Coast and Glens.”

“The money squandered on this call in procedure is in itself a disgrace, but more than that, I cannot understand why these six Councillors took offence at the name of Causeway Coast and Glens. It is the best name to describe a very large and disparate Council area. I know that Councillors from other parts of Northern Ireland are quite jealous of the tourist marketing power of our new Council name. The six Councillors who took this wasteful action owe it to the ratepayers to explain why they did so.

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