Coleraine hearing into alleged breach of Councillor Code of Conduct

Councillor  Padraig McShane.
Councillor Padraig McShane.

A Public Adjudication Hearing is to be held into alleged breaches of the Councillor Code of Conduct by Independent representative Padraig McShane.

It will take place at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council offices on Tuesday, November 15.

The proceedings are understood to centre around the display of an Irish tricolour and a Palestinian flag in the CCGBC chamber last year during a visit by a representative of the Municipality of Gaza.

Mr McShane said the meeting was a private one but at the time the DUP group on the local government authority called for an investigation into his conduct.

The Ballycastle man is alleged to have breached paragraphs 4.6, 4.16 (a), 4.18 (b) and (e) of the Councillor Code of Conduct, which state respectively:

You must comply with any request of the Commissioner in connection with an investigation conducted in accordance with the Commissioner’s statutory powers.

You must not: (a) use, or attempt to use, your position improperly to confer on, or secure, an advantage for yourself of any other person.

You must not use, or authorise others to use, the resources of your council

(b) in breach of your council’s requirements; (e) improperly for political purposes.

The Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards Marie Anderson has appointed Ian A Gordon as Acting Commissioner and he will adjudicate at Mr McShane’s hearing.

Mrs Anderson has excluded herself from the hearing process as prior to her appointment she was the deputy Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards and had overall responsibility for the investigation of the complaint made against Mr McShane

All councillors are required to act in accordance with the Code and failure to do so may lead to him/her being censured, suspended from office or disqualified.

Councillor McShane, who has the right to attend or be legally represented at the hearing, said the matter is being dealt with by his solicitor.