Alliance claims victory for openness and transparency

Castlereagh Alliance Councillor Michael Long has expressed his delight that the DUP on Castlereagh Borough Council have finally supported the annual publication of Councillor’s allowances in future years during a debate in which Councillor Long was criticized for complaining about a 6 month delay in Castlereagh Borough Council providing him with information regarding Councillors’ allowances and expenses for the financial year 2006/07 under a Freedom of Information request.

Cllr. Long claimed the decision was a victory for ‘openness and transparency’ and marked a major u-turn by other parties on the Council. The request in question during the debate was originally sent to the Council on 9th May 2007 and should have been processed within 20 working days; however, Cllr. Long has still not received the requested information.

After the motion was passed, Cllr. Long said, “Over the past few years, I have made a request for details of all Councillor’s allowances under Freedom of Information laws in order to highlight the failure of the Council to publish these allowances, as is already the case in many other local Councils. At last night’s Council meeting, members of both the DUP and UUP criticized me for complaining about a six month delay in receiving this year’s figures.

“However, during the debate, the DUP then proposed that they would finally do what I have wanted all along – publish the allowances annually. This is a victory for openness and transparency and marks a major and positive departure for other parties on Council.

“Without my actions over the past few years, I have no doubt that these figures would never have been published but I am delighted that ratepayers will now be given the information. They are the people footing the bill, and have a right to know what they are paying for and make their own judgment as to whether individual Councillors provide good value for money. In the meantime, I am still awaiting the figures for this year and have been told that I should receive them shortly.”


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