Friday 16 November 2018 08:33:58 PM

Newry and Mourne SDLP Say Former Sinn Féin Mayor Scuttled Rates Debate
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TENSIONS have erupted in the important rates’ discussion at Newry and Mourne District Council.

The SDLP Group on Newry and Mourne Council said it will ask the Council to censure a former Mayor for his “brazen, irresponsible behaviour which collapsed discussions aimed at bringing in a zero increase to the district rate”.

Cotgrieve Councillor Connaire McGreevy, SDLP Group Leader, said: “We began discussions early on Wednesday morning to try to reduce the projected rates increase and as far as we were concerned bring it down from 4% to zero. “These discussions are always very delicate because we have to consider some very sensitive issues and look at every item of expenditure.

“During the course of the meeting we were alerted to the fact that while in the Chamber Councillor  Charlie Casey was putting messages on Facebook to score cheap political points against us based on deliberately misquoting our savings suggestions.

“Councillor Casey’s party had no proposals of their own when asked directly by the Chairman yet all he could do was make an attack.

“Serious negotiations can only be done in good faith and he destroyed the process by which we hoped to set a zero increase.”

However, Sinn Féin Newry Town Councillor Charlie Casey responded saying: “We are still in a process of negotiation. There is still time to sort out the rates before the 12 February.

“We stil have to go through a couple of meetings yet and we are hoping for a decrease in the rates. They are are currently around  5 per cent. We will have to look at everything to reduce this figure and leave no stone unturned.”