Special meeting called over Dungiven sports decision

A special meeting has been called in a bid to overturn the decision to reject millions in funding for a new leisure centre in Dungiven.

The decision was taken last month at the Causeway Coast and Glens council, backed by councillors from unionist parties.

The decision had been taken to reject some £2.5 million of funding from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure at Stormont, money that had been set aside as part of the UK City of Culture Legacy funding programme.

Widespread outrage has followed in Dungiven, with a arge demonstration held in Dungiven to protest the decision.

The council has been split along sectarian lines over the issue, with nationalist parties in favour of accepting the money and building the new sports facility and unionist parties opposed.

Unionists say they voted against the proposal in order to save ratepayers’ money, pointing to a budget shortfall worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure said in a strongly worded press statement, following the council’s decision, that funds equal to the budget shortfall had been approved by the Communities Landfill Fund - meaning the new sports facilities could be built at no extra cost to ratepayers.

Now, a notice of motion to rescind the decision has been lodged, proposed and signed by Sinn Féin Councillor Dermot Nicholl, and signed by Sinn Féin Councillors Brenda Chivers, Sean McGlinchey, Philip McGuigan, Kieran Mulholland and Cara McShane.

The motion reads: ““Notice is hereby proposed by the undersigned, pursuant to Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Standing Order 23, to rescind the resolution of Council taken on 15th December 2015, in relation to the Leisure and Development Committee report Agenda Item 14 – ‘Dungiven Sport and Leisure Facilities.”

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at the council offices in Coleraine.