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Number of Council reps to attend awards dinner cut to three with tickets costing £140 each

Dinner event

With its strong ‘Food Heartland of Northern Ireland’ credentials, the ABC Borough will have pride of place at the annual NI Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) awards dinner, however the £700 price tag to attend the event did raise a few eyebrows recently.

The dinner is due to take place on March 15 at Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel, and Economic Development & Regeneration Committee members were asked at their February monthly meeting to approve a recommendation for the Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley, Deputy Lord Mayor, Sorchá McGeown, chair and vice-chair of Economic Development, and ABC chief executive, Mr Roger Wilson, to attend the event.

Councillor Kyle Savage (UUP, Lagan River) felt a smaller delegation, at a lesser cost, would have been adequate: “It’s very important that we are present at these awards going forward, but do we need [five] people at it or would two people do at the event?

“I have no real problem but whenever you see £140 a ticket, it’s still a lot of money. I have no problem proposing it, but would the Lord Mayor and the chair of the committee be sufficient?”

Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon (SDLP, Armagh DEA) was also of a view a smaller delegation would be adequate: “I thought our policy would have been the Lord Mayor or the Deputy, and then the chair or vice-chair. I think it’s just a bit excessive. I think we should trim it back. “

Alderman Mark Baxter (DUP, Lagan River DEA) concurred with that view: “I just want to say what Councillor O’Hanlon said. I just propose the Lord Mayor and the [committee] chair, and the chief executive, or head of the development, whatever it is.”

Councillor Kyle Savage proposed to limit the ABC delegation to three people, namely the Lord Mayor, the chair of committee and the chief executive. That recommendation was seconded by Councillor O’Hanlon.

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