Hearing due for £44k council blunder report

July 8, 2013

A report into how Newry and Mourne District Council paid £44,000 to a company which was in administration will go before councillors in August, over a year since independent investigators were called in to probe the matter.

Crossmaglen Councillor Terry Hearty revealed the blunder last year which centred on the planned Council Recycling facility on the Newry Road in Crossmaglen.  In 2009 the Council purchased the site and negotiations of the sale included an agreement that the seller would construct an entrance road. However, this never materialised and the company later went into administration.

It emerged that the Council handed over £44,000 to the seller without following proper protocol and was embroiled in a legal battle to have this money returned.  Furthermore, the road still needed constructed at a projected cost of £65,000.  Council officials also admitted that an important file documenting the terms of the sale had since disappeared.

Just last month, the TaxPayer’s Alliance accused the council of being “blasé” about the matter, criticising the length of time the report was taking to complete and urging the council to look into the case “as a matter of urgency so that those responsible for wasting this large sum of taxpayers’ cash can be held to account.”