Time to come clean who profited from Council contributions to the DUP – Paisley dinner ?

Ian Paisley: Second council accused over dinner

Ian Paisley said a complaint had been made by “political rivals”

A second council has been accused of using ratepayers money to sponsor a table at an MP’s constituency dinner.
Causeway Coast and Glens Council paid £1,500 for the table at last September’s event hosted by the DUP’s Ian Paisley.
It was previously revealed Mid and East Antrim Borough Council had sponsored another table for the same sum.
That is now is being treated as a “donation” to the North Antrim MP by the Electoral Commission.
Causeway Coast and Glens council said the payment was within its guidelines.

Investigation into Paisley event money
Audit Office examining DUP event money
Councils are not considered “permissible donors” and money from such bodies must be returned.

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said there are serious questions to be answered

In a letter to Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said the money was paid directly to the Tullyglass Hotel which hosted the dinner.

But Mr Dickson said the payment raises serious questions.
“This is public money and we are now talking about two councils spending over £3,000 of ratepayers’ money for something that was billed – and is all over the local newspapers – as a DUP fundraising event,” he said.
“A dinner which was held in Ballymena by Ian Paisley MP and indeed was bragged about as a fundraising event by some of his councillors.”

The Alliance MLA said he was also concerned about how the decision to sponsor a table was taken.
“This wasn’t a decision by local councillors, this appears to have been taken entirely by council officers on the basis of a letter they received from an organisation which according to Mid and East Antrim, doesn’t even exist, ” he said.

Wider audit

In the letter seen by the BBC, the council said the “spend level for attendance” at the dinner “did not require councillors’ agreement in accordance with council’s procurement policy and specifically the delegated responsibility to officers”.
It added “you will therefore not find a specific council minute which relates to this matter”.
In a further statement, it said the keynote speaker at the event was MP Michael Gove and that subjects discussed included Brexit, passenger air tariffs and their impact upon tourism and business travel and the effect of public sector cuts upon rural services.
“Council agreed to attend the event and invite guests who would benefit from both the subject matter and the potential networking opportunities,” it said.

“Those guests included representatives of our hospitality, food distribution and production, agriculture and leisure industries with an emphasis on the rural aspects of the borough.”

The Northern Ireland Auditor’s office has confirmed it looked into the payment as part of a wider audit of Causeway Coast and Glens Council and will be making recommendations in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has said it is aware of the payment made by the council, but can’t comment any further as its investigation is ongoing.

In a statement, Mr Paisley said he was “content to wait for the outcome of the commission’s inquiry” which he added “commenced after political rivals made a complaint”.
He said his “annual community and business engagement dinner in Ballymena was very successful and enjoyed by all who attended”.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story

“The question crying out to be answered, arising from the revelation that a second council paid £1500 for a table at a DUP associated dinner, is where did the profits from this dinner go, profits to which ratepayers contributed by paying £3000 to the hotel for the cost of the event.

“Patently, the £1500 contributed by each council, for a table of 10 in each case, exceeded the actual cost of the 10 dinners provided in each case. So, who benefitted from the surplus of public money that went towards paying the total hotel bill? Did it mean the DUP/Ian Paisley had a resulting smaller balance bill? If so, then, the DUP/Ian Paisley were beneficiaries of the council contributions.

“It is time the DUP/Ian Paisley published an audit showing the actual cost of the event and what the effect of the £3000 payments from councils had on the final bill that the party had to pay.

“Coming on the back of the Sri Lankan scandal and the ongoing RHI fiasco, this escapade of ratepayers money going towards a party event adds to the disrepute into which some have brought politics.”

With many thanks to the: Traditional Unionist Voice, tub.org.uk and statement from Jim Allister

DUP’s Ian Paisley accuses The Irish News of ‘running hate campaign’

DUP MP Ian Paisley, speaking out about Brexit at Westminister this week.

THE DUP’s Ian Paisley has accused The Irish News of running a “hate campaign” against a council chief executive following an article about an Irish language funding row.

The paper yesterday reported how Conradh na Gaeilge (CnG) said it intended to make a formal complaint against Anne Donaghy in a dispute over comments at a council meeting.

CnG strongly rejected her claims that she had contacted the group and arranged a meeting but it failed to turn up, accusing her of risking it “reputational damage”.

It also claimed her comments impacted on a vote at Mid and East Antrim council on holding events for Irish Language Week (Seachtain na Gaeilge).

The council said a meeting was arranged through a councillor last year and released a redacted email, but no messages were disclosed showing any correspondence with CnG.

Referencing the report yesterday on Twitter, North Antrim MP Mr Paisley wrote: “The Irish News appear to be running a hate campaign against Mid and East Antrim chief executive – every month or so they run ‘well placed sources’ reports attacking her.”

Responding to his comments, CnG advocacy manager Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin said it had only spoken out “because of assertions made by the chief executive that we had not shown up to a meeting arranged with her”.

He said CnG has asked for the record to be amended and the council vote on Seachtain na Gaeilge retaken because her remarks “obviously influenced that”.

Ms Donaghy’s comments were made on Monday while councillors discussed whether to hold an event to mark Irish Language Week.

CnG had written to the council in January asking it to consider providing funding for groups or organising its own event.

During the discussion, Ms Donaghy said: “I did contact Conradh na Gaeilge and had a meeting and sat at the meeting with two officers and they didn’t turn up.”

Rather than holding an event, most councillors instead backed TUV councillor Timothy Gaston’s proposal to note CnG’s correspondence and refer the group to the council’s grants scheme.

The council later said its mayor is still “committed to hosting an event to mark Irish Language Week”.

In a fresh statement, a council spokeswoman said: “Contact with Conradh na Gaeilge was made via the chief executive’s office through an elected member.

“The chief executive’s understanding was that this invitation had been extended to the group through the elected member, as requested, and as is often normal practice.

“The chief executive has always been and remains willing to meet groups from all backgrounds and communities, including Conradh na Gaeilge, and has since contacted the group to reiterate this.”

It is the latest controversy to hit the council chief executive.

Last year SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said Ms Donaghy contacted him to say she was making a complaint after a search of his emails – which Mr O’Loan claimed were searched without his consent or knowledge.

And in October Ms Donaghy faced criticism after claiming that UVF flags put on display during a loyalist band contest were “historic and not illegal”.

With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes and The Irish News for the origional story.

Irish language group in row with council chief over ‘damging’ comments

Anne Donaghy, Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim council.

AN IRISH language organisation has said it intends to make a formal complaint against a council chief executive in a dispute over comments she made at a council meeting.

Conradh na Gaeilge (CnG) strongly rejected Anne Donaghy’s claims that she had contacted the group and arranged a meeting but it had failed to turn up.

The Irish language group said it has “no record of any such meeting being requested” and accused Ms Donaghy of risking them “reputational damage”.

Ms Donaghy made the claim on Monday at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim council, during which councillors discussed whether to hold an event to mark Irish Language Week.

CnG had written to the council asking it to consider providing funding for groups or organising its own event.

During the discussion, Ms Donaghy defended the council’s efforts to look at holding events for Seachtain na Gaeilge 2018.

She said: “Just to say I have put some work into this. I have done the best I can and I did contact Conradh na Gaeilge and had a meeting and sat at the meeting with two officers and they didn’t turn up.

“Now we contacted them and asked them, and I asked them to come back to me, and they haven’t come back to me.

“I did arrange the meeting and that’s what happened.”

Rather than holding an event for Irish Language Week, most councillors instead backed TUV councillor Timothy Gaston’s proposal to note CnG’s correspondence and refer the group to the council’s grants scheme.

Making his proposal, Mr Gaston referred to Ms Donaghy’s comments about CnG and said it was “embarrassing they couldn’t even turn up”.

Mid and East Antrim council later said its mayor is still “committed to hosting an event to mark Irish Language Week”.

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, advocacy manager for CnG, yesterday disputed Ms Donaghy’s comments and said the group would be making a formal complaint.

“We would like to state on record that we have no record of any such meeting being requested and were unaware of any meeting having been arranged,” he said.

He said the group “risks reputational damage”, adding: “Given that this was referenced by some councillors during the debate on whether or not to support Seachtain na Gaeilge, we believe it had an impact on the debate and impacted negatively on the outcome from our perspective.”

Asked about Ms Donaghy’s comments, last night the council said a meeting was arranged between several councillors, staff and a CnG representative for August 15 last year but that “a number of those invited did not attend”.

To support this, the council released a redacted email in July last year from Ms Donaghy to a councillor in which she says she would be “happy to meet”.

However, no messages showing any correspondence directly with CnG were disclosed.

Independent councillor Paul Maguire expressed concern over the dispute.

“This is a very serious situation, and an embarrassment for Mid and East Antrim council. Good Relations within both the corporate body and constituency, is consequently at a very low ebb,” he said.

It is the latest controversy to hit the Mid and East Antrim council chief executive.

Last year SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said Ms Donaghy contacted him to say she was making a complaint after a search of his emails – which Mr O’Loan said were searched without his consent or knowledge.

And in October Ms Donaghy faced criticism after claiming that UVF flags put on display during a loyalist band contest were “historic and not illegal”.

With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes and The Irish News for the origional story.

 

DUP hasn’t strayed far away from its origins.

This letter appeared in the Irish News today written from a unionist point-of-view have a read and make up your own minds. “Now For everyone who messaged me when I asked them not to. YOUR PUNISHMENT IS BEING ASKED TOLEAVE MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT IMEDDITLY. I KNOW  THE PUNISHMENT SEEMS A LITTLE  HARSH BUT ITS FACEBOOK PAGE AND I CAN CHOOSE WHO I WISH TO BE FRIENDS. I HAVE WORKED VERY HARD ON THIS STORY. AND FELL TO SLEEP WHILST WRITING LAST NIGHT. AND TO BE HONEST I DON’T NEED FRIENDS  LIKE YOU. SO GOODBYE.

You are all very brave men and women behind a computer. You know who I mean.


THE DUP ARE NOT WHAT PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE THEY ARE LIERS, CHEATS, ASSOCIATED WITH THE UDA, Red Hand Commando and the UVF. ENGLAND NEED TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE REALLY DEALING WITH THEY ARE THE SCUM OF THE EARTH & DECEATFUL,UNTRUSTWORTHY,AND YOU NEED TO WATCH YOU BACK WITH THEM. DON’T TRUST THEM TO GO INTO GOVERNMENT WITH. THE SECRET DEAL WON’T WORK IN THE NORTH OF IRELAND. BECAUSE SINN FÉIN WILL NOT GO INTO GOVERNMENT WITH THEM. THEY ARE LAYERS. AND WITHOUT A GOVERMENT THEY ARE FU

   


READ THIS FROM SCOTLAND:

SECTARIAN SCOTLAND YOU ARE A SHOWER OF BRAINWASHED NUMPTIES.

I was accused by Sectarian idiots of being an Orange Bastard for going to the Netherlands For Independence Event in April 2017

Yesterday I was accused of being a Fenian Bastard because an Irish band turned up at the Bannockburn Rally. It was a public event I did not invite them.

 

PROVOCATIVE PUBLIC RHETORIC NOTHING NEW

Paisley, McKeague and Seawright among famed users of emotive words.

POLITCIANS playing to their constituency with colourful and emotive rhetoric is uusually regarded as an asset. Renowned orators like Michael Collins and Winston Churchill delivered words in a manner that instilled awe and great loyalty among their audience.

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Throughout the Troubles – and even before 1969 – the North of Ireland‘s politicians have enjoyed employing aggressive and provocative language when speaking in public. One of the most notorious incidents occoured almost 50 years ago when big Ian Paisley demanded the removal of the Irish tricolour from Division Street in West Belfast. He warned of riots if the RUC did not heed his call, but the violence the relatively young Free Presbyterian preacher predicted was avoided after a police operation to remove the flag. Over subsequent decades the former DUP leader’s language sailed close to the wind on many occasions but never were his words deemed so offensive that they resulted in arrest. However, his East Belfast loyalist associate John McKeague did face prosecution for a hate crime over the written word rather than an inflammatory speech.

The 1971 publication of Loyalist song book and its inclusion of anti-Catholic lyrics saw McKeague brought to court but ultimately acquitted after the proesecution failed to convince the jury of his intent. McKeague was shot dead a decade later by the INLA. In perhaps the best known episode of inciting sectarian hatred Belfast DUP councillor George Seawright was pprosecuted in 1984 when he made provocative remarked during a meeting of Belfast Education and Library Board. The loyalist, who like McKeague was later gunned down by the INLA offshoot, described Catholics who objected to the singing of the British national anthem “fenian scum” and suggested they should be burnt in an incinerator. Although he denied making the comments, Mr Seawright was prosecuted and received a six-month suspended sentence. The era of social media means the opportunities for people to go beyond what is deemed acceptable is much greater. The court restrictions around using Facebook and Twitter placed on loyalist flag protesters Jamie Bryson and Willie Frazer reflect a recognition of the potential by political and community leaders to incite their followers through.

With many thanks to : John Manley, The Irish News.

PAISLEY QUESTIONS ROBINSON’S ‘JEREMIAH’ COMPARISON

‘While Jeremiah was at his lowest, imprisoned in a simple pit, his vision of the days ahead for the nation of Israel were both amazing and beautiful – Ian Paisley

FECK OFF PAISLEY

IAN Paisley has offered succour to those denounced by Peter Robinson as “Jeremiahs” for querying his approach to a shared ffurther strategy. The former DUP leader, who as founder of the Free Presbyterian Church has wide experience of studying Old Testament prophets, offered a reminder that Jeremiah’s story was in fact one of “courage in the face of great adversity”.

“When Jeremiah was at his lowest, imprisoned in a slime pit, his vision of the days ahead for the nation of Israel were both amazing and beautiful,” he said. In a stout defence of Jeremiah against the charge of being “a person who has a gloomy attitude or one who warns about a disastrous furture”, Mr Paisley said that if he heard the phrase “noone loves a Jeremiah”, the prophet might be “tempted to take a libel case”. With the DUP refusing to extend a law to strengthen free speech into the North of Ireland, Mr Paisley continued : “But then, sure he couldn’t.”The law in this part of the UK wouldn’t allow it. It’s enough to make you weep.” Mr Paisley’s understanding of Jeremiah would seem to be at odds with the vivid picture of a “tribe of Jeremiahs” painted by Mr Robinson in the assembly on Tuesday.

The first minister was describing those who questioned the substance of the DUP and Shame Fein shared furture strategy – announced at short notice last week – and been critical of the fact that it had been unshared with other executive parties. Mr Robinson described these “Jeremiahs” as, among other things, “whited sepulchres” who were bellyaching, foot-dragging, whinging and stalling.302551_207216286003301_100001447927151_562559 But the tactic of harnessing biblical language to suggest that critics of the shared furture strategy he devolped with Shame Fein deputy first minister Martin McGuinness were doom-mongers who can see nothing positive in the process seems to have backfired on Mr Robinson. In striking such a discord note, he further dissuaded those who were already scepitical about the direction of the shared furture strategy. More embarressing for the former East Belfast MP is that the bibical references appear to have annoyed, rather than appealed to, the religious section of the DUP constituency they were directed at. For example, Mr Paisley noted that Jeremiah remained “optimistic in the midst of the most depressing times”; Mr Robinson, meanwhile, said he was “depressed listening to the tribe of Jeremiahs….”. Mr Paisley’s comments, made in his News Letter column yesterday, came after another retired Free Presbyterian minister and former DUP stalwart criticised Mr Robinson for his “wicked misuse” of Jeremiah’s name. Ivan Foster, a founder of Ulster Resistance and a former Third Force colleague of Mr Robinson, also took a swipe at the “banks of grinning DUP faces” surronding the first minister as he made his comments.

With many thanks to : William Scholes, Irish News.

NO OPPOSITION – NO INCENTIVE TO SUCCEED !

 With no opposition to highlight failure (and 160 press officers to deny it) our public sector is governed by a culture of non-accountability, which filters down to failed organisations such as the Housing Executive.

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 OH DEAR, things are not good at Stormont (The big House on the Hill). the DUP and Sinn Fein are making nasty remarks about each other, both claiming that their major coalition partner is unfit for government. (In the interests of equality, this column agrees with both sides.) So what went wrong ? Why has the romance of a few years ago disappeared in a welter of accusation and recrimination ? Were they just in love with themselves and not each other and how will this lovers ‘ tiff end – in divorce or at  a romantic dinner ? (Either way, like their libel losses, taxpayers will foot the bill.)

There are many explanations for the failure of Storming as there are MLAs. We have time for only three. The first is the catch-22 analysis, based on the novel by Joseph Heller. In it, US pilots in the Second World War were deemed crazy to fly any further missions. But if they refused to fly, they were regarded as sane – and therefore fit to fly. The two main parties at Storming might be viewed in a similar light. They would be electorally crazy to abandon their long-held (largely flag-waving) principles. So they retain their core values, which renders them electorally sane and therefore fit for power. But the only form of power available is power-sharing, which if operated fully, would render them electorally crazy by requiring them to abandon their flag-obsessed values. By institutionalising sectarianism, Storming has created an inherent contradiction for the DUP and Sinn Fein. They are required to have one message for their supporters but the opposite message for their coalition partner. Supporters have now copped on, so both parties have taken a step back from their loving relationship.

The second theory is the spoiled child syndrome. When Stormont was re-established, the media regarded it as surpassing the Second Coming. No praise was too great. No superlatives were to super. Ian Paisley (later Peter Robinson ) and Martin McGuinness together – good God, they said, it is a miracle. But the role of government is not to look politically pretty. It is to govern – and Storming has significantly failed to do so. Both major parties were built largely on protest. Their style and substance of government shows that they have failed to adopt the responsibility and transparency which goes with power. So when this newspaper (Irish News), for example, asked questions about governance and ethics, Peter Robinson said we should not read The Irish NewsSurprisingly, Martin McGuinness did little to distance himself from the comments. When a first minister says that citizens should not read the state’s largest-selling newspaper, his government has lost the plot – and public confidence. Each party blames the other for their government’s low standing and therein lies the present dispute.

The third theory, which this column has trailed for some time, is that without an opposition, Stormont has no incentive to succeed. The parties in power can never be replaced, so failure is always an option. With no opposition to highlight failure (and 160 press officers to deny it ) our public sector is governed by a culture of non-accountability, which filters down to failed organisations such as the Housing Executive. The public are now experiencing failure in several areas (health, housing, employment) so both main parties at Stormont feel obliged to blame the other. So there you have it – Stormont’s breakdown could be a failure of systems and structures. But in any organisation, most problems stem from managerial inability. Good managers can make the most complex structures work. Poor managers rarely deliver, even within appropriate frameworks. Perhaps not enough MLAs have the necessary skills and knowledge to make Stormont work. (Have you seen what passes for debate there ?) For example, since all parties operate at various intensities of sectarianism, none has the ideological basis necessary for developing economic policy. As a result our economy is based on the show business model – golf, fancy buildings, sports stadiums and tarting up derelict buildings to hide our decaying reailty from visitors. It has little underlying economic rationale, which begs the question : If an expert panel were to interveiw MLAs for appointment to their jobs, how many would succeed ? Yes, Jim Allister would make it – how many others ? Defeat in Gaelicf football these days tends to be explained by a confusion of systems and structures on the pitch. Defeat in hurling is useually easier to explain – the other team had better hurlers. It appears that there are simply not enough good hurlers in Stormont – and there are no plans to appoint better ones any time soon.

With many thanks to : Patrick Murphy.