Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has welcomed Electoral Commission confirmation it is investigating money paid by Mid and East Antrim Council to sponsor a table at a DUP constituency dinner.
DUP MP Ian Paisley hosted the event at the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena last September, at which Environment Secretary Michael Gove was guest speaker. Under Electoral Commission rules, Councils are not considered permissible donors.
“I welcome this move, which comes after concern was raised from a number of quarters, including Alliance. Ratepayers’ money cannot be used to fund political parties and I am pleased the Electoral Commission will look at that allegation,” said Mr Dickson.
“I have also referred this matter to the Northern Ireland Audit Office and the Public Services Ombudsman in a bid to ensure the widest possible investigation into the issue. Mid and East Antrim Council, the Council’s Chief Executive and Councillors who spoke in favour of the event must answer questions.
“The people of Mid and East Antrim deserve to know where their money is going and if any individual party benefitted from it. If that is proven to be the case, action must then be taken.”