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Tension in chamber over GAA dinner

Claire Tennyson

Reporter:

Claire Tennyson

AN INVITE for councillors to a GAA gala dinner stoked up tensions in the Council chamber last week.

A request from St Ergnats GAC to invite members of Mid and East Antrim to the Tullyglass on November 16 was read to members.

It followed an item on the agenda with members being invited to a gala dinner in support of NI Children's Hospice.

Members had agreed if they were to attend the hospice dinner that they would purchase their own tickets.

When the GAA dinner was raised Councillor Carson proposed to "mark it as read" as the club was not located in the Mid and East Antrim boundary lines.

However Councillor Declan O'Loan said the club was located in Moneyglass which fell very close to the border and that a lot of players at the club lived within the Mid and East Antrim Borough.

He added: "This is an outstanding club like many others in the area who raise a lot of money and doesn't depend on its council for support.

"I would propose we do the same for this as we are doing for the hospice."

Councillor Gaston seconded Councillor Carson's proposal to mark the invitation as read.

"If anyone wishes to attend this they should go in their own capacity."

Councillor Maguire added that the issue of location of the club should not come into the decision.

He added: "If I remember correctly some members of this Council attended a dinner in Lurgan or Portadown for the British Legion so that set a precedent.

"I would second what Councillor O'Loan has said and treat this invite similar to that of the hospice dinner."

Councillor Gaston added that both invitations were "completely different".

"The Northern Ireland Hospice does sterling work and is for the benefit of people all over Northern Ireland.

"It is not just for a section of the community."

Councillor Carson's proposal to mark the invite as read was carried with a vote of 18 in favour.

The event is to mark the club's 70th anniversary with special guests including champion jockey Tony McCoy.

It will be held in the Tullyglass Hotel on November 16.

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