Crossmaglen recycling plant – report on Council’s financial gaffe due

September 12, 2012

By Christine Keighery

The Examiner understands that a report carried out by an independent investigator into a costly mistake by Newry and Mourne District Council surrounding a payment to a company in administration, is due to be released in the coming weeks.

The blunder 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.

The Examiner reported some months ago, 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.

At the time, Councillor Terry Hearty was incensed at this apparent waste of public money and the mishandling of the case by officials, and demanded an independent investigation into the circumstances of the errors.  This independent investigation was launched early last month.

Director of Administration, Eddy Curtis, confirmed at August’s meeting of the council’s finance committee that the investigation was set to conclude at the end of last month, with the outcome due for discussion at the subsequent group leaders meeting, before being taken to full council.