Council’s £5k Christmas party prompts anger

December 7, 2015

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has faced heavy criticism for its decision to treat staff to a £5,000 Christmas party.  The festive celebration, scheduled to take place in Bellini’s bar and nightclub in Newry this Friday night, has come under fire from furious ratepayers who view the party budget as an unnecessary extravagance.

It is understood that some council workers who disagree with the cost are boycotting the event.

Local councillors have also voiced their concerns, with SDLP councillor Colin McGrath revealing that he has taken his misgivings to the council chief executive.

“I can understand why members of the public have raised complaints,” said Mr McGrath.

TUV councillor Henry Reilly added: “If it is an excuse for a drinking session, then the council shouldn’t be paying with ratepayers’ money.”

A spokeswoman for the council confirmed it was holding a “staff recognition event” to “acknowledge the many excellent achievements by the new council since its creation on April 1”.

“Elected members unanimously agreed to this event to express their deep appreciation for the staff who played a vital role in the creation of the new council, ensuring that everyday services and operations ran smoothly and seamlessly for all of the citizens of the new district of Newry, Mourne and Down.

“The event will recognise the commitments and endeavours of individuals and teams who have displayed high levels of commitment set against a background of change.”

The spokesperson added that the Council was proud o the number of global events which had been hosted in the first six months of the creation of the new council, all of which  all of which had “attracted national and international coverage for our district.”